We’re delighted to be editing a Special Issue of Gender in Management in association with the conference.  

There is a lacuna of research in business and leadership/gender that explicitly seeks to theorize women’s leadership, particularly with regard to the intersectionality of women’s leadership with alternative forms of organising.

We’ve been involved in a global initiative to develop theory around women’s leadership to respond to this. The May 2017 conference ‘Theorizing Women & Leadership. Different spaces, different conversations: theories and practices for these times’ follows previous seminars and conferences, initiated at the women and leadership colloquium held at Utah Valley University, May 2014. This was followed by a think tank hosted by the George Washington University, July 2015 and a symposium on theorizing human resource development at the Annual European Conference on ‘HRD Research and Practice Across Europe Conference’ (Cork), June 2015.  In May 2016, Professors Elliott and Mavin hosted a SAMS-sponsored think tank ‘Developing women’s leadership: theory and practice’, at Roehampton Business School which attracted by 44 delegates including participants from Japan, Croatia, USA and United Arab Emirates.

The conference design is intended to develop and progress themes from the theorizing women and leadership global network, and will deliberately engage with the experiential to explore alternative modes of theory development. We want to encourage critically reflexive submissions that grapple with the intersubjectivity of theory development processes, including the relationship between women’s leadership, space and place. The conference is also concerned to explore the intersectionality of women’s leadership with new ways of organising and acting for political and social change, emerging from the questions "leadership of/for what….?”

In the context of concerns about gender equality and social justice, the ways in which women professionals and leaders learn how to become leaders (Stead, and Elliott, 2013), do leadership and develop leadership remains empirically and theoretically under developed.  This SI will progress theorising around women’s leadership with the deliberate intent to include the voices of women in leading roles from a range of occupational and organisational settings and contexts.