Women’s Leadership Academy

Celebrating 35 Years of the Fellowship on Women & Public Policy

“The Women’s Leadership Academy at the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society is a catalyst to train, prepare and promote women in public service leadership. The WLA is an exciting new initiative to achieve balanced leadership in politics, and ensure that women’s strengths as decision makers are fully utilized.
- Sue Faerman, Ph.D.
Academic Chair, Women's Leadership Academy
Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, University at Albany

Women's Leadership Academy - Programs

  • NEW Leadership™ New York NEW Leadership™ New York strengthens policy knowledge and skills of undergraduate women, while positioning them to become advocates for change. This intensive week-long summer program fosters the principles of leadership through action, and guides participants’ community/campus action projects.

  • Fellowship on Women & Public Policy The Fellowship is a six-month, rigorous, and multi-faceted leadership development program for graduate students. It is designed to provide a springboard for aspiring women leaders to pursue careers in public policy while increasing the capacity of New York State government and civil society. Over the last 27 years, the Fellowship has graduated 284 women who occupy public policy leadership positions across the state and nation.


Women’s leadership matters! In the past several decades, women have made tremendous progress in educational achievements and employment equity, but still occupy a small percentage of public service leadership positions throughout New York State and the nation. The Women’s Leadership Academy offers programs for undergraduate and graduate women. CWGCS is a member of the National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership Network.

The Women’s Leadership Academy was launched on November 30, 2010.

The purpose of the Women’s Leadership Academy (WLA) is to strengthen participants’ self-efficacy, leadership capacity and capabilities. Areas of emphasis include: knowledge of policy-making processes and ways women can influence these processes; leadership ethics, principles and approaches of women political and policy leaders; understanding of how political campaigns are organized and run; recognition of the critical importance of diversity in enriching democratic political participation; skills in community organizing and advocacy; and commitment to advancing women’s leadership on a personal and collective level.

Why Women’s Leadership?

  • Women make up 51% of the population, yet they remain underrepresented in policy leadership positions.
  • The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions weakens the democratic foundation of our nation and has critical policy implications for citizens.
  • In order to promote women’s leadership, women must be provided with opportunities to broaden their policy knowledge and engage in arenas of collective action.
  • Broadening women’s opportunities for acquisition of policy knowledge and leadership skills advances the vision of a society free of gender inequities and ensures that the potential of women as leaders is fully realized.
  • Embedded in a public university, CWGCS’ mission is intertwined with strengthening civic engagement and public policy leadership at the state and local levels.
  • CWGCS programs cultivate and nurture values of democratic life, provide a training ground for future civic and political leaders, promote access to policy knowledge and enrich students’ education at the University at Albany.