Women Leaders' Network

In 2016 ACOSVO launched the ACOSVO Women Leaders' Network, a peer support network for women Chief Officers in Scottish voluntary organisations.


The majority of the workforce in Scotland’s voluntary sector is made up of women. However, women are under-represented at senior management and Chief Executive level. In addition, women Chief Executives are less likely to be employed by large well-funded organisations, and likely to be paid less than their male counterparts. As a consequence, it is estimated that the gender pay gap in UK’s third sector is higher than the average for all industries, according to a recent study.


To address this issue of gender inequality in the sector, a group of interested women leaders came together for a first meeting in March 2016 to inform an agenda of possibilities for developing a peer support network for women Chief Officers in Scotland’s third sector. The discussions led to agreement that such a network would be welcome and needed in order to effectively address the issue, and that the women in attendance would form a steering group to support the development of the network.


The role of the network will be:

  • To provide opportunities for its members to network, offer peer support, and learn together with other women in leadership positions in Scotland’s third sector.

  • To provide opportunities for its members to network and learn together with women in leadership positions in other sectors.

  • To encourage and support women aspiring to become Chief Officers to reach their full potential.

  • To support women in leadership roles through a mentoring programme and cross-sector exchanges.

  • To promote good practice with regards to gender equality in Scotland’s third sector organisations.

  • To influence and help shape policy on gender equality issues in Scotland’s wider public life.


The network is open to women Chief Officers in the third sector. Since the network sits under the umbrella of ACOSVO no additional charge will be made for membership, and the network will be open to all women Chief Officers in the third sector.

To stay in touch and hear about news and developments, join the ACOSVO Women Leaders' Network’s LinkedIn group.


Are you a women leader but not yet a member? Sign up for ACOSVO membership to be the first to learn about upcoming events and news.