What Can Feminism Offer Student Leadership Education?

Given societal calls for transformational leadership that will lift people to higher levels of motivation and critical consciousness, this paper critiques existing student leadership education efforts and proposes that leadership educators adopt core tenets of feminism in order to prepare students to be engaged, change-oriented leaders in their communities. Today’s literature on student leadership development places an over-emphasis on positional leadership, technical problems, and leadership competencies. Feminism can serve as a theoretical strategy for addressing these problems by considering the complexities of identity, re-conceptualizing power, amplifying student voice, and encouraging activism. In particular, we argue that consciousnessraising is essential for leadership development and offer ways in which it can be employed within leadership curriculum, among student leaders, and among leadership educators.