Women’s Leadership Initiative

The Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) was established in 2011 as a global programme of the Urban Land Institute. Today it has an active global Steering Committee in addition to 40 chapters in numerous countries around the world. The global WLI leaders support local programming and initiatives, helping to increase both the number and visibility of more women leaders throughout ULI’s vast network.

There are currently 7 National Councils around Asia Pacific with active WLI groups, they are: Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, China and South Korea.


The mission of the WLI is expressed in its four primary objectives:

  • Promote the advancement of women, throughout their careers, as leaders in the real estate industry.
  • Increase the number of women who serve in leadership positions in the real estate industry and in ULI.
  • Increase the visibility of women leaders in the real estate industry and in ULI.
  • Increase the number of women who are active ULI Full members, and support the development of young women members as leaders in ULI and in their professions.

The Panel Pledge

The WLI is dedicated to promoting the advancement and visibility of women leaders in the real estate industry and to supporting the development of young women members as leaders both in ULI and in their professions.

We invite you to commit to the Panel Pledge.

This means that when you are asked to be involved in or to sponsor a panel or conference, you inquire about organiser efforts to ensure that women are represented and ideally you only speak on panels that include women.

Initiated by The Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia and the Male Champions of Change, this has been an effective way to increase awareness of this issue and the percentage of women speakers at events in Australia.

Gender Balance at Every Forum

How can you commit to the Panel Pledge?

When you are invited to speak at or participate in a professional forum:

  •  Request confirmation of who the other panelists / speakers / participants are, and how gender balance will be achieved;
  • Insist that as a condition of acceptance, you expect women to participate in a meaningful way;
  • Reserve the right to withdraw from the event should this not be the case when the speaker list is finalised;
  • Offer names of women from within your organisation or network and, if helpful, point them to resources for support in finding women (the WLI has a list of available senior women speakers and can assist with linking speakers to topics)
  • Tell your team so they can support you in delivering your commitment. Extend the pledge to your own organisation by ensuring all forums you run or sponsor take gender balance into account.

Improving gender balance: Checklist for conference organisers

  • Strive to achieve 50:50 gender balance. Force the question – if we don’t have gender balance, why not?
  • Distribute topics so that women’s voices are heard on “hard” topics, not just “soft” topics.
  • Ensure speaker criteria are not inadvertently biased, e.g. in Asia limiting panel participation to Chairmen of Funds leaves you with very few women.
  • Book women speakers early – in case you need to change your approach to ensure gender balance.
  • Ask around – Women can be found, e.g. ask WLI, other panelists, industry insiders, specialist women’s organisations. Google. Look at past conferences, government boards and industry associations.

Click here for more information.

Are you interested in speaking opportunities at events in the Asia Pacific region? Join our speaker database, asiapacific@uli.org for more details.

For more information and to get involved with WLI, please contact asiapacific@uli.org