The Women, Law and Leadership Ideas Lab was an incubator for innovative ideas. It was a platform for students to test ideas, to create, and to experiment. Most of all, it was a space for students to ask questions on the under representation of women in leadership and how that hurts the global economy, hampers the diversity of thought, and undermines the public good. The concept for our Lab led by Rangita de Silva de Alwis was to research and develop a wide range of policy initiatives on women’s leadership. The goal will not just be to study and recommend adoption of best practices but to explore and innovate new practices. The students ideated and discussed solutions to address the under representation of women in leadership and the future of work.
What is needed, then, is a re-evaluation of work. We must ask, along with Virginia Woolf, “What is this ‘civilization’ in which we find ourselves? What are these ceremonies and why should we take part in them? What are these professions and why should we make money out of them? Where in short is it leading, the procession of the sons of educated men?” Any strategy for gender equality in the workplace, equality that is not predicated on the reification of masculine constructs or proximity to power or economic output but on actual substantive equality, must begin with those questions.