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.

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 brings 30 years of experience and success in the fields of leadership, innovation, and technology. A regular contributor to, Metcalf has authored an award-winning book series on leadership and is the Founder & CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute. She is the host of an Innovating Leadership, a weekly international podcast that hit the airways in July 2015. As an ILA Fellow, Maureen partners with the International Leadership Associate on a series of global leadership podcasts within the show.

About Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future

The pace of change in the world is increasing exponentially and shows no signs of slowing down. Leadership is evolving and requires more and more innovative leaders to keep up. Many leaders update what they lead but not how they think about and act as leaders. They become outdated. This matters because Leadership creates strategic advantage.

 Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future features interviews with global business executives, thought leaders and academics in a wide range of industries. They discuss their most pressing issues and the innovative approaches they have employed to transform their challenges into opportunities and advantages. The application of proven concepts and tools that may be applied to build your organization and deliver sustainable success are presented and discussed.