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Preparing women for political life


She Leads is a unique leadership virtual training programme designed to support aspiring women political leaders across all backgrounds to enter politics and run for office at state and national levels in India. With the support of the Chevening Alumni Project Fund (CAPF), the training for the first cohort of women leaders is being conducted by Stree Shakti-The parallel force, in collaboration with the Indian School of Democracy and Shakti.

The first cohort of She Leads comprised of over 50 trainees from 13 Indian states, who successfully completed training in Feb-March 2021. The training had esteemed panel of speakers and experts which included Ms Margaret Alva, Senior Politician and Ex-Governor of Uttrakhand; Dr Heena Gavit, Hon’ble MP, Lok Sabha and Mr Ghanshyam Tiwari, Spokesperson Samajwadi Party, Mr M V Rajeev Gowda, Ex MP, INC, Mr Prithvi Reddy and Ms.Bandana Kumari, MLAs from AAP, and Ms. Archana Chitnis, Ex MP, BJP. The experts from the field of journalism and social work also took session during the programme.

After the 2 cohorts, She Leads aims to start a journey for strengthening the political leadership of women in India. The next step will be to start certificate courses for young women in colleges and universities for them to consider politics as a career option. Miranda House is the first college to begin this certificate program followed by University of Hissar, Haryana.

"Time has come for women to claim their political space. I hope women will aspire and lead the country" - Rekha Mody Founder Stree Shakti - The Parallel Force.

A Programme for Strengthening Women’s Political Leadership in India

(Call for applications from aspiring women political leaders)


Stree Shakti, The Parallel Force with the support of Chevening Alumni Project Fund (CAPF) and in collaboration with Indian School of Democracy (ISD) and Shakti invites application for its second cohort of 'She Leads - Political Leadership Programme for Women'.

This 5 days online programme is meant for women who have demonstrated leadership capacity at some level of the political process and help them take the next steps in their political journey. The current programme will select 50 aspiring women leaders and prepare them for bigger contribution and higher political leadership roles. There is no fee for the programme and the selection is based on a well-defined criterion.

Programme Details


She Leads has been conceptualized in the backdrop of the women’s low representation in politics. Stree Shakti with the support of Chevening Alumni Project Fund (CAPF) and in collaboration with Indian School of Democracy (ISD) and Shakti, invites application for training programme for women leaders to enhance their skills for bigger contribution and higher political leadership roles. In 2019, India saw the highest voter turnout in the history of Indian parliamentary elections. However, more women participating in political life in India did not translate into women’s increased representation.

Of the 8,049 candidates who contested Lok Sabha elections in 2019, only 78 women made it to the Lok Sabha. Women hold only 14% of seats in India’s Parliament, which is highest so far. Increasing women’s representation is essential to building a strong democracy and global presence for India in the 21st century. Therefore it is imperative to enhance women’s skills in becoming authentic and effective leaders and to increase their engagement and impact at higher levels of governance. She Leads is one of its kind training programme for women aiming to contest elections for higher level of decision making bodies; State Legislative Assembly and Parliament

Objectives of the Training

  • To enhance leadership capacity of women through skills, knowledge, and political acumen
  • To create an online community of women political leaders to connect, share and learn from each other

Training Report

Strengthening Women's Political Leadership in India - Report of the training of the first cohort (February - March, 2021)

Click to Download




Programme Overview


Cohort Size - 50
The programme will equip women with the practical and multidimensional skills in political and social sphere, for them to play multiple roles as representatives of their constituencies. Topics that will be covered during the programme include:

  • Women in Politics and mapping power structures
  • Leadership
  • Constituency mapping and management
  • Communications and Media handling
  • Campaign tools and strategy
  • Resource management (team and ethical fund raising)

Training Schedule

Duration of the training programme - 5 Days
Dates - February 2022

Timings- 9 am to 1:30 pm every day, with sufficient breaks in-between

Application Process

Launch of application form - January 2022

Who can Apply

This training programme is for women leaders who are aspiring to contest election at state or national level. In addition, they have to meet one of the following criteria:

  • Prior experience of public life including social work
  • Contested elections for a political office at some level (college, municipality, panchayat etc.)

Other Criteria

Educational Qualification - Minimum 12th Standard
Age group - 25-55years
Fluent in Hindi or English in addition to the local language

Selection Process

The selection process entails the following steps:
Step 1- Submitting the application online
Step 2- Informal video interview with the applicant
Step 3- Confirmation to the selected candidates

A laptop with a good internet connection is essential for attending the programme.

Mentors and Experts

In addition to the online training, need-based mentorship support will be provided by experienced political leaders, media experts and social thinkers.


Sumitra Mahajan - Ex Speaker Lok Sabha

She started her political career as a corporator in the Indore Municipal Corporation in 1982. She is the second woman to be elected as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. She represented the Indore constituency of Madhya Pradesh from 1989 to 2019 as a longest serving Woman Member of Parliament.




Kumari Selja


She entered the political fray in 1990 as the President of Mahila Congress. She was the cabinet minister at the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in the UPA government. She is currently the President of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee



Amee Yagnik

MP, Rajya Sabja, INC

She is a practicing lawyer and significant part of her legal practice has been on gender justice related work which includes pro bono legal aid for women and legal awareness campaigns for women and their legal rights at grass roots level. She is one of the founder members and immediate Past President of All India Federation of Women Lawyers, a national organization that works with women lawyers for the betterment of women and children.



Neerja Chowdhury

Senior Journalist and Political Commentator

She is recipient of several media awards and has covered all the major Political Parties, as also Parliament and elections state and national for the last 30 years.  She was political editor of the Indian Express for ten years and of the Economic Times. Currently she is doing regular columns for the Times of India, Economic Times, The Scroll and Amar Ujala.



Kumkum Chadha

Political journalist and an author

She has written extensively on prison systems and prisoners in India and gender issues, and served as member, national committee on conditions of women prisoners. She has been conferred national awards for political and investigative journalism. 






M.V. Rajeev Gowda


An academician and a former Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, he is a national spokesperson for the Indian National Congress. He also currently serves as Chairman of the ‘Congress Research Department’.




Dr. Heena Gavit


A medical doctor by profession, she is one of the youngest Members of the Parliament in Lok Sabha. She has worked in tribal areas on social issues like malnutrition and anaemia amongst women.



Margaret Alva

Ex-Governor and Ex MP, INC

A senior politician and an advocate by profession, she has been Governor of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Goa. She has served in both the houses of Parliament, and has had several portfolios as Union Minister of State.



Ghanshyam  Tiwari

National Spokesperson, Samajwadi Party

He has served as the advisor to the JD (U) government in Bihar from 2010 to 2015. He was also the communication advisor to the CM and party spokesperson until 2016. He earned a master's degree in public administration and public policy from Harvard Kennedy School.  







Tara Krishnaswamy

Co-Founder of  Shakti and Citizens for Bengaluru

A software director at a MNC, Tara is a Co-founder of Shakti, a pan-India, non-partisan citizens pressure group working to get more women into State Assemblies & Parliament, pressure MPs to table the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament, and the Election Commission to discipline parties towards gender equitable nominations.


Bandana Kumari


She has served as Deputy Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly and has been former president of women's wing of the party, Aam Aadmi Party Mahila Shakti.




Email – sheleads8@gmail.com

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