Leader development for adolescent girls: State of the field and a framework for moving forward

Nathan Eva, Helen De Cieri, SUSAN Murphy, Kevin B Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For most leaders, their first exposure to formal leader development training occurs in adolescence, through school, extra-curricular activities, or youth leader development programs. As with many adolescent experiences, the processes and challenges of leader development are different for girls than they are for boys. With increasing calls to address gender inequity worldwide, adolescent girls' leader development has become an important cross-disciplinary research topic. Though the literature on developing adolescent girls has grown substantially, it is fragmented across disciplines, with a lack of integration and theoretical framing hindering our advancement in knowledge. Therefore, there is a critical need for a comprehensive review article to guide scholars to build an integrated knowledge of how leader development occurs for adolescent girls. We searched for literature relevant to leader and leadership development designed for adolescent girls and reviewed a total of 108 academic papers (2000–2019). We identify and critique five themes in this literature that hold important implications for the leader development of adolescent girls. To advance knowledge, we offer social cognitive theory as a theoretical frame to understand adolescent girls' leader development and provide guidance on future research. Finally, we offer insights on how the processes and practices of adolescent girls' leader development could inform adult leader development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101457
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalLeadership quarterly
Early online date23 Sep 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Sep 2020


  • leader development
  • adolescent girls
  • gender
  • literature review
  • social cognitive theory

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