Organisational best practices for advancing women in leadership: Protocol for a systematic literature review

Mariam Mousa, Alexandra K. Mullins, Helen Skouteris, Jacqueline Boyle, Helena J. Teede

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction Evidence-based approaches for achieving gender equity for women in leadership are lacking. Current efforts are of limited effectiveness, especially in healthcare. This work occurs in the context of an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council funded partnership to advance women in healthcare leadership. Partners include government, professional colleges and healthcare organisations with national reach and international links. Here we present a protocol for a systematic review, aiming to capture evidence on effective organisational strategies across multiple sectors with comparable challenges in advancing women in leadership. The aim of the review is to learn from other sectors and analyse the evidence to inform implementation in the health sector. Methods and analysis A systematic search will be performed on Ovid MEDLINE, PsycINFO and SCOPUS databases to identify studies since 2000, reflecting a major shift in the global gender equality agenda with the development of the 2000 Millennium Development Goals. Titles and abstracts will be screened to assess eligibility; data extraction, quality assessment (using the Critical Appraisal Skill Programme checklist) and synthesis of outcomes will be performed. Outcomes will be assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation framework. Studies in English using quantitative or qualitative design, which investigate organisational practices in any sector, for advancing women in leadership, and report on one or more measurable outcomes (eg, capacity-building, incidence of promotion) will be included. Findings will be analysed, themes will be extracted and results will be described. Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval is not required. To our knowledge, this review will be the first to provide a comprehensive synthesis of available evidence on organisational practices for advancing women in leadership from the last two decades. Findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals and disseminated at conferences and meetings. Through a large-scale funded partnership, this work will inform practice, linking to international initiatives. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020162115; International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere046982
Number of pages6
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2021


  • change management
  • organisational development
  • public health

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