#WomenLead: Your weekly round-up on women in politics

In 2019, a woman council member in the Japanese town of Kusatsu accused the mayor of sexually assaulting her. A year later, the woman lost her job; the mayor kept his. He claimed she had “damaged the town’s reputation”, and got residents to vote for her ouster. The result: the town council was left with 11 men and no woman. 

In Belarus, three women with little political experience rose against a strongman president of 26 years in the 2020 elections. The president mocked them, claiming that if voters picked a woman, she would “collapse, poor thing”. He rigged the polls to stay in power, while the three women had to flee to save their lives. But the spark had been lit: the country was thrown into months of anti-government protests.

Chile held a referendum in October 2020, to not only vote on a new draft constitution, but also to pick who would draft it. History was against them: most (read all) constitutions in the world so far had been written by men, claiming to be for all. But Chileans carved a new path: they decided that women would comprise half of the drafting team.

Stories of women in politics are full of grit and hope. They are also rife with disappointment and despair. We believe strongly that these stories matter. And this is why we started this newsletter.

What is #WomenLead?

#WomenLead is a one-of-a-kind non-partisan publication that brings you all the important updates on women in politics from around the world.

Our aim is to amplify the work and voices of women political leaders, and also to sensitize our readers to the many obstacles (both glaring and nuanced, the blatant and invisible) that women have to negotiate in routine ways across different layers in politics.

At #WomenLead, we are strong advocates for greater participation of women in politics. If you sign up, we will bring you updates every Sunday, about the work of women leading cities, provinces, and countries around the world, and their experiences navigating a space predominantly occupied by men. We are sure some of these stories will stay with you! 

What will you get if you sign up? 

If you sign up, you will receive the #WomenLead weekly wrap on the last Sunday of each month. Each edition includes updates on elections, leaders heading countries, reading recommendation, stories of change, a shout-out to an individual/organisation doing important work in this area, and a lot more - all delivered to you with a mix of spunk, critique and some eye rolls. 

The newsletter will land up at different times based on your location (our readers are spread out throughout the world!) - from early morning if you are based in the Americas, to evening if you are based in Africa or Europe, late evening for those in India and late night (or early Monday morning) for readers in East Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands. 

Once in a while we also publish #WomenLead Conversations - interviews with experts who can help us better understand some aspects about the intersection of gender and politics. We will give you a heads-up whenever we are to publish such a post, so that you don’t miss out! 

Why should you purchase a subscription? 

#WomenLead is a free newsletter and we do not want to put it behind a paywall. Our mission is to reach as many readers, in as many parts of the world, and to sensitize them to the world of women in politics. 

If you purchase a paid subscription, you help us stay sustainable. Putting together each edition takes a considerable amount of time, effort and resources and your payments help us keep running. So, please consider upgrading to a paid plan if you can afford to. And please write to us if you would like a discounted price (if the current plans are out of reach). 

In addition to supporting feminist writing, a paid subscription also helps you get full access to all our web posts. Currently, web posts get archived after a month. This feature is only to give something extra to paying subscribers (and not to block anybody’s access). Please write to us if you need full archive access but if you are unable to afford a paid plan. 

We use your payments for the following: 

  1. To invest further in the newsletter - buy resources, tools, books and anything that can help make this publication sharper, smarter and more engaging. 

  2. We often keep getting requests from students who wish to intern with us. If we get enough payments, we will use the money to create paid internships for them. (We are currently not accepting interns because we do not support the idea of unpaid internships. Help us change that!). 

  3. Each reader who purchases a paid subscription allows us to give full archive access to two students for free. Help us make this possible for more students!

We hope you would consider upgrading to a paid subscription. We promise not to disappoint! Students who would like full access to archives can request a subscription by filling this form.

The #WomenLead Community

#WomenLead is curated by Akshi Chawla, a writer, researcher and editor based in New Delhi, India. In addition to dreaming of a world with fair representation in politics, Akshi spends her time researching and writing about women’s participation in the labour force, and tracking important socio-economic issues using data. This newsletter is written in her personal capacity and does not reflect any institutional affiliation.

Readers of #WomenLead are spread across the world, and come from professional backgrounds in academia, journalism, public policy, politics, and development work. They are all interested in and passionate about creating a gender-just world.

Join the growing community, and help us amplify the work and voices of women in politics around the world better! 

Subscribe to #WomenLead

Weekly updates about all things women in politics from around the world


I am a researcher, writer and editorial consultant based in Delhi, India. My work is centred around women's representation in public life - particularly in politics, leadership positions, and in the workforce.