Online Project Showcase

Women's Environmental Leadership Australia (WELA)

  • Organisation:

    WELA is hosted by The Green Institute

  • ABN or Auspicing Organisation:

    ABN: 86 133 831 197

  • Scope of Activity:


  • Geographic Location:

    Nationally focused, with program management based in Melbourne

  • Target Groups:

    Business Professionals
    Gay and Lesbian
    Rural / Regional


Funding Information

  • Total Funding Required (AUD):

    $250,000 a year, for three years

  • Current Funding (AUD):


  • Funding Needed (AUD):


  • Tax Deductability Status (DGR):


  • Tax Concession Status (TCC):


  • DGR Additional Information:

    Our hosting partner, The Green Institute has DGR 1 status

  • Other Funding Partners:

    Major donors, philanthropic organisations, and fee paying participants

Project Information

  • Project Commencement Date:
  • Ongoing program
  • Project Completion Date:
  • Ongoing program
  • What issues are addressed?:
  • Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia (WELA) empowers, supports and funds women’s leadership for our environment and climate action, in order to transform Australia’s response to these crises. The world now faces an unprecedented set of environmental and climate crises. Overwhelmingly our existing political, business and community leadership has failed to adequately respond. It’s time for leadership change. We will not get out of this by continuing to rely on the same leadership that got us into it. Instead, leadership styles that are strongly networked, collaborative, and responsive to communities will be essential in the transition to a sustainable future - in short, women's leadership. Women’s leadership has played a vital role in the growth and success of environmental outcomes across Australia. However, this work is often unsupported, unseen and unfunded. As a result, women’s leadership for our environment remains limited in its breadth, diversity and influence.
  • Project Description:
  • Founded in 2016, the first phase of WELA established an annual leadership development program for women environmentalists from diverse backgrounds, regions and ages. This immersive program has successfully supported the leadership, career development and influence of dozens of women leaders across the environment and climate movement’s over the past four years. The next phase of WELA: In 2020 we are undertaking a significant expansion of the WELA program of work. In 2020 we will: - Continue to deliver our highly successful leadership development program for women across the community sector, - Expand our leadership development work to support women from the private and government sectors, - Create ongoing digital support networks and communities of practice to support women cross-sectorally, and - Establish Australia’s first giving circle dedicated to funding women-led projects and initiatives for our environment.
  • Alleviating suffering / disadvantage?:
  • WELA supports women to overcome systemic discrimination and disadvantage in their approach to leadership for our environment. Women working across the community typically have less access to leadership development opportunities, and less role models and mentors who can both model strong women’s leadership, and support them to identify and manage gender-based disadvantage in their work to influence change. WELA assists women to identify and step into their own style of leadership. We build confidence in women to find and use their voice for positive change. We enable and facilitate the support networks we know women look to in order to reinforce their courage and support their ongoing leadership. By establishing a new giving circle to directly support women-led projects and initiatives, we will also assist women environmentalists to overcome the most important determinant of power and influence – access to funding for their work.
  • Changing Policy, Practices & Systems?:
  • WELA supports women to identify and step into their own style of leadership, challenging the structures, policies, and systems that are holding them back from achieving their greatest influence. Leadership has typically been seen as masculine, heroic, individual, and normative in nature – reinforcing self-reliance, assertiveness, and competitiveness. At times these qualities serve to reinforce existing power structures that underpin unchecked economic growth, environmental destruction and marginalisation of diverse voices. Research has demonstrated that when women have the freedom to organise themselves, they consistently reject hierarchy, focus on building relationships and empowering others, and emphasise collective achievement and responsibility. The WELA alumni are now challenging these restrictive policies, practices and systems within their organisations and throughout the campaigns and projects they are working on.
  • Investing in or empowering women?:
  • Empowerment: Through our leadership development programs, WELA supports women to develop the confidence, skills, personal development and networks that will enable their leadership and influence to grow. Our programs engage women from diverse backgrounds and age groups, working on a variety of environmental issues and campaigns. Support networks: We’re establishing networks to support and connect women from across the environment and climate movements through digital networking, sector and location specific engagements, working groups, mentoring and communities of practice. A pilot program has already been established in Canberra. Funding women’s leadership: In 2020 WELA will establish a giving circle to directly support women-led projects and initiatives for our environment and climate action.
  • Media / Promotion?:
  • Promotion of the work of the WELA alumni, and the role of women’s leadership for our environment is undertaken via: - Social media channels - Our regular newsletter - Regular presentations at forums, panels and conferences
  • How is success evaluated / measured?:
  • Success of our program to date has been evaluated through qualitative assessment and surveys of participants at the end of each annual program. In 2018 we undertook a survey of all alumni. In 2020, we are partnering with a researcher to conduct a monitoring and evaluation program in parallel with our community leadership development program to both qualitatively and quantitatively assess our impact and inform future development.

Contact Information

  • Contact Person:

    Victoria McKenzie-McHarg

  • Email:

  • Website:

    Click Here

  • Phone:

    0428 480 409