ILA Podcast

The Bonobo Sisterhood: Ape Society’s Lessons for Your Leadership

Maureen Metcalf Podcast Cover

with Diane Rosenfeld


People like to think humanity is at the top of cultural achievement, the pinnacle of evolution’s craftwork. But one glance at the daily headlines proves we have problems. Lots of problems. Across all nations, there’s one glaring problem that hits hard over half our population: sexism. From subtle misogyny to outright violent abuse, women continue to be left on the outside of patriarchies…of a man’s world.

That’s not the case with bonobos. They’re our close evolutionary relatives: apes with whom we share 98.7% of our DNA. And their society is very equal. They share parenting duties and food amongst the entire group. And the females defend each other when needed, banding together like sisters regardless of status, age, or friendship. It’s the Bonobo Sisterhood, and guest Diane Rosenfeld tells us there’s a lot our political and corporate leaders can learn from these primates who show just how primitive people can be in comparison!

About Diane Rosenfeld

Diane L. Rosenfeld, J.D., LL.M., is Founding Director of the Gender Violence Program and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She is the author of The Bonobo Sisterhood: Revolution Through Female Alliance

Her breakthrough legal work, research, and arguments have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Glamour, and more. Her op-eds have been featured in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune,, and the Harvard Crimson.

She served as the first Senior Counsel to the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice and as an Executive Assistant Attorney General in Illinois. In 2007, she created and taught the first legal seminar on Title IX in the country, which continues to this day at Harvard Law School. She also advised the Obama Administration on the prevention of campus sexual assault and contributed to the Presidential Task Force on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault.

For More Information on The Bonobo Sisterhood visit:

Host Maureen Metcalf

Maureen Metcalf

Maureen Metcalf, Founder and CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a highly sought-after expert in anticipating and leveraging future business trends to transform organizations. She has captured 30 years of experience in an award-winning series of books used by public, private, and academic organizations to align company-wide strategy, systems, and culture using Innovative Leadership techniques. 

Maureen shares her hard-won insights through public speaking, industry publications, interviews, and video presentations. She is a regular contributor to, host of the top international radio show, Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, and author of the award-winning Innovative Leadership book series. The series includes: Innovative Leadership FieldbookInnovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations; Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders; and Innovative Leadership for Health Care, among others.

She is a Fellow of the International Leadership Association.

About Innovating Leadership: Co-Creating Our Future

The pace of change in the world is increasing exponentially. Leadership must evolve. And that gets to the heart of our mission: To bring you the latest thoughts on leadership so you can innovate, learn, and evolve…growing your team, your business, and yourself! This series features a new interview every week. Host Maureen Metcalf interviews world leaders, global business and NPO executives, thought leaders, and researchers in a wide range of industries. It’s a breadth of perspectives unavailable anywhere else. Become an innovative leader in your own right! 

Innovating Leadership is proud to partner with the International Leadership Association on a yearly series of episodes on global leadership with special ILA speakers, members, and guests. 

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