The Case for Women case writing competition

In partnership with The Case for Women, Forté, and MBA Roundtable, this case study competition focuses on the female case protagonist.

Open for entries

Women in case studies

The aim of this competition is to encourage and promote the development of high-quality teaching case material that positively represents real women in leadership positions in the workplace.

Having 10 years of research on award-winning case papers, Lesley Symons of The Case for Women showed that women protagonists are present in only 11% of award-winning case papers. She developed the Symons Test which is used to assess the presence of women in case papers:

  1. Does it have a woman in it?
  2. Is she the protagonist?
  3. Does she speak to another woman about the business?

Only 4% of the case papers researched met all three of the rules. 

More about Lesley's research

The award

The total prize fund for the collection is $12,000. Prizes are awarded to the overall winner and three runners-up.

Though we are an international publisher, we must comply with all current economic sanctions within the United Kingdom. This may impact our ability to pay authors from restricted countries. Please know, however, that these submissions are still welcome and given all due consideration. If you are concerned about what this might mean for your submission should it go on to win the competition, please contact us.

Key criteria

Judging criteria

  • Cases should have a female protagonist
  • Her characteristics as a leader should be described in a positive way
  • There should be a general balance of genders across the characters in the paper. (This does not need to be precise although an approximate range of between 60:40 either way is considered balanced)
  • The female protagonist should speak to another woman about the business
  • Authors are asked to include the pronouns of each person, male and female, after they are introduced within the case for the first time. For example "Susan Wojcicki (she) faced a difficult decision."
  • Ideally, the industry or setting of the case should not fall into one of the "Four F" categories: food, family, fashion and furniture. This is not a mandatory requirement.

Submission criteria

  • All cases should be teaching cases based on a real situation in a real company, with a clear decision-making situation, and prepared in accordance with case writing guidelines provided in the instructional materials
  • Case studies submitted should not have been published before in their current or substantially similar form or be under consideration for publication in any ISSN/ ISBN-registered publication or with any other case centre
  • All cases which are submitted to the judging panel will be considered for publication in our eCase Collection. By participating in the competition, you are automatically agreeing to have your case study published in the collection on an exclusive license.
  • All case studies must be accompanied by a consent to publish release form, which has been completed and signed by the management of the company or individuals included in the case
  • All cases must be accompanied by a teaching note which must include:
    • a summary of the case
    • the teaching objectives and target audience
    • a suggested teaching approach and strategy
    • a discussion on the implication of gender issues and leadership in the case
    • additional readings or references
    • feedback on how the case worked in the classroom.


Enter the competition

To enter the competition, you will submit your case study through the The CASE Journal on ScholarOne Manuscripts.

Closing date: 15 April 2023

Select ‘The Case for Women 2023’ from the options.

Your entry should include: case study, teaching note, title page and consent to publish form.

Submit your entry


Master case writing: how to write a successful teaching case study

Join us on Wednesday 07 December for a case writing workshop with Dr Michael Goldman, editor-in-chief of Emerging Markets Case Studies.

Learn how to develop a case study for publication and hear why he believes the case method is so important. Case commissioning lead Melissa Close will discuss the latest case publishing opportunities, including the launch of the 2023 Case for Women competition.

Develop your skills and knowledge

Sign in or register on the Emerald Cases Hub, where you can complete a course on writing a case study and teaching note, and download our handy how-to guides.

Can I submit as part of a team or as a single author?

It can be either, we have no limits on who can submit, it can be a group of authors or a single author.

Are there restrictions on the gender ratio of the authors?

No, we have no restrictions as to who can submit in terms of their gender.

Where will the case be published?

The case will be published by Emerald in a collection called "The case for women" in our eCase collection. Find out more information.

Can the female protagonist be part of a team where there are also men?

Yes absolutely. We just don't want the case to focus on a single woman surrounded by exclusively male characters. The author guidelines ask for a roughly even split between genders of named characters in the case, and that the female protagonist must speak to another woman in the case about the business.

Who needs to complete the case study consent form?

If primary research has been carried out, the consent form needs to be signed by a director or member of HR at the organisation where the research was undertaken.

What if I can't get case study consent?

We can allow cases to be disguised in some circumstances, but only when this is the only option, and only if the case follows real events that are disguised, not made up. Cases based on secondary data do not require case study consent and so these would not need to be anonymised.

Can I submit a case study that’s on my institution's repository?

If the case is only on your institution's website, not published elsewhere, and doesn’t have an ISSN registered to it, you are welcome to submit this to the competition.

Can the case study be about a woman facing a specific business dilemma that’s not directly related to gender?

The paper doesn't need to focus on a dilemma related to gender, it can be any business dilemma. However, the teaching note should include a discussion around gender issues in the case.

Can the female protagonist be part of a family business?

Ideally, the cases should not focus on the 4F industries "food, fashion, family, and furniture", as this is where we typically see more female protagonists, but this is not a requirement.

Can I see a sample case?

A sample case is available on the Emerald Cases Hub. To access this case, simply register a free account and select 'useful resources' in the library. Under sample cases and teaching notes, you will then see the CFW case Navigating EtonHouse through Crises, which won the competition in 2020. There are also a number of other sample cases from other publications which might be useful, as well as resources on writing cases and teaching notes.

We are pleased to announce the winners of The Case for Women 2022 case writing competition.

In partnership with The Case for Women, the Forté Foundation, and MBA Roundtable, the Case for Women competition encourages and promotes the development of high-quality teaching case material that positively represents real women in leadership positions. We would like to thank our partners for their ongoing support of the Case for Women’s mission. 

“This year’s cases highlight the diversity of women’s leadership talent. They contain fabulous initiatives and excellent examples. Congratulations to all our winners.” Lesley Symons, Founder of The Case For Women

The winning cases are:

1st Place – “Vodaphone Ghana – Being good by Doing Good Under Patricia Obo-Nai’s Leadership”

Arpita Agnihotri (Penn State Harrisburg, USA) and Saurabh Bhattacharya (Newcastle University Business School, UK)

2nd Place – “Sumaira Latif at P&G: Pioneering Inclusive Design and Accessibility to All”

V. Namratha Prasad (ICFAI University, India)

3rd Place –“Temie Giwa-Tubosun of LifeBank: Creating the Future of Healthcare Supply Chain in Africa Powered by Technology”

Hadiya Faheem (ICFAI University, India) and Sanjib Dutta (ICFAI University, India)

4th Place – “Timnit Gebru: Seeking to Promote Diversity and Ethics in AI”

Syeda Maseeha Qumer (ICFAI University, India)

We are also very pleased to highlight two cases which have received Honourable Mentions from the judging panel:

“Rosalind Brewer – The Leadership Journey” – K.B.S. Kumar (ICFAI University, India) and Indu Perepu (ICFAI University, India)

“Can Lisa Su Inegrate AMDs Transformational Strategy and Culture Post Acquiring Xilinx and Pensando?” – Shwetha Kumari (IBS Hyderabad, India) and Jitesh Nair (IBS Hyderabad, India)

All entries to the competition will be considered for publication in The Case for Women collection, subject to the usual review processes. 

We would like to thank all authors and the competition judges for contributing to this competition. It is our pleasure to work with our generous sponsors to support the visibility of women in leadership positions in the workplace. For more information on the 2023 competition, please follow the competition homepage to stay up to date.

Congratulations to all the winning authors. 

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Get in touch

If you have any questions about the case study competition, please contact our cases publisher Melissa Close using this form.

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