The Case for Women case writing competition

In partnership with The Case for Women and Forté, this global competition welcomes teaching cases that pivot around the career success of a woman executive or entrepreneur. Join us as we recognise strong female protagonists and spotlight their success in our annual case study competition.

Competition status: Closed
Closing date: 15 May 2024
Publication: The CASE Journal

We welcome high quality teaching cases to our Case for Women case writing competition, run in partnership with The Case for Women and Forté.

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

We encourage the global submission of cases with complex and compelling management decision-making dilemmas. In order to position your case as best as possible, please make sure that you have read the submission requirements in full (both entry criteria and author guidelines) before submitting your case.

Get in touch for more information

Women in case studies

The Case for Women competition was developed to fill significant gender gaps in business school teaching case literature. According to a 13-year-long study conducted by Lesley Symons of The Case for Women, female protagonists are present in only 11% of award-winning case papers.

In response to this research, Lesley developed The Symons Test (see below); a simple method to measure female representation in case papers. Lesley uses this test to evaluate the presence of women in case papers.

The Symons Test is composed of three questions:

  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 studies researched met all three of the rules. Using this approach, the Case for Women competition aims to ensure that women from all backgrounds and disciplines can be made visible in case literature and classrooms throughout the world. Our collection provides faculty with options to incorporate diverse, timely, and interesting cases in their course curricula. 

Award and publication

The total prize fund for the collection is $9,500. Prizes are awarded to the winning case ($5,000) and two runners-up ($3,000 and $1,500 for second and third place).

The winning case and runner(s)-up will be published in Scopus-ranked The CASE Journal (TCJ), pending peer review. All other submissions (non-winning cases) will also be considered for publication. 

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.

Entry criteria

Your case should:

  • Have a female protagonist whose characteristics as a leader should be described in a positive way.
  • Feature the female protagonist speaking to another woman about the business.
  • Have a balance of genders across the characters in the case. This does not need to be precise although an approximate range of between 60:40 either way is considered balanced.
  • Include the pronouns of each person, male or female, after they are introduced for the first time. For example, "Susan Wojcicki (she) faced a difficult decision."
  • Not, ideally, fall into one of the “Four F” categories: food, family, fashion and furniture. This is not a mandatory requirement.
  • Not, ideally, have a case dilemma that is focused exclusively on a diversity, equity and inclusion initiative. This is not a mandatory requirement.  
  • Be based on a real decision-making situation in a real company, where the focus of the dilemma (the managerial decision the protagonist needs to make) contributes to students' understanding of management decision-making.
  • Should include sufficient information and data so that students can have a meaningful discussion of a managerial dilemma.
  • Be a teaching case, we cannot accept academic (research) cases.
  • Not have been published before in its current or substantially similar form or be under consideration for publication in any ISSN/ ISBN-registered publication or with any other case centre.
  • Meet the standard TCJ author guidelines (more below).
  • Include a completed and signed consent to publish release form.
  • Your case will be automatically entered into the peer-review process. Selected cases will be published in the Scopus-ranked TCJ collection (ISSN 1544-9106). By participating in the competition, you are agreeing to publish your case study in TCJ, subject to acceptance for publication after peer review and revisions (if required).


Secondary sources should be cited in-body and included in a references list using Harvard referencing style. Please see our style guide.


We reserve the right to disqualify a case, through any stage of the competition or publication process, should it transpire that the above criteria have not been met or adhered to.

We will pay cash prizes when your case is published in TCJ (or at the end of the second revision stage, if not published earlier).


Before you enter

Find out what paperwork you need to complete and further criteria you need to consider before entering the competition.

Author guidelines

Your case should meet standard TCJ author guidelines to be considered for publication. Find information on format, length, teaching notes and download template documents.

Read guidelines

Consent to publish

Download and include a consent to publish release form with your entry. Your form should be completed and signed by the management of the company or individuals included in your case.

Download form

Title page

Download and include a case study title page with your entry.

Download form

How to: write a successful teaching case

Watch our recorded session led by Christopher Craig, Associate Professor at Murray State University and Editor-in-Chief of The CASE Journal and Teja Dusak, Project Manager at CEEMAN.

Learn how to develop a case study for publication, including top tricks and tips to avoid the most common pitfalls of writing. This session will include a 15-minute Q&A segment and a brief presentation from Emerald’s Cases Commissioning Lead Melissa Close on upcoming opportunities for publication within Emerald.

Watch our webinar

Enter the competition

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

Closing date: 15 May 2024

Select ‘The Case for Women 2024’ from the options.

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

Submit your entry


Develop your skills and knowledge

Have a look at our free resources that will help you prepare a high-quality teaching case and accompanying note, ready for submission to the competition.


Emerald Cases Hub

Register on our Emerald Cases Hub, where you can complete a comprehensive course on writing a case study and teaching note or view sample cases.

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.

Do cases need to have an equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) focus in order to be considered?

No, cases do not need to be about an ED&I initiative in order to be considered. While the Case for Women is itself an ED&I initiative, part of ensuring that we are able to publish a diverse collection of cases means including manuscripts with all manner of business dilemmas. We find that ED&I topics function similarly to the Four Fs (food, family, fashion, and furniture) in that they are more commonly associated with female protagonists and thus limit the representation of this demographic to set terrains. We know that women are present in all areas of business and tackle all sorts of managerial and leadership dilemmas, and wish to see that reflected in the case study literature. 

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 The CASE Journal.

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

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

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 case doesn't need to focus on a dilemma related to gender, it can be any business dilemma. You can choose to include a section discussing gender issues in the teaching note if you wish. 

Can the female protagonist be part of a family business?

Yes, this is fine.  As above, though, the ideal case should not be focused on one of the 4F industries "food, fashion, family, and furniture", as this is where we typically see more female protagonists.

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.

Competition winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of The Case for Women 2023 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.

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 2024 competition, please follow the competition homepage to stay up to date.

Congratulations to all the winning authors.

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

2023 winners


Corporate policy or CEO activism? Citigroup’s stance on reproductive healthcare in the United States

Sarah Holtzen, Missouri Southern State University, United States, Aimee Williamson, Suffolk University, United States, Kimberly Sherman, Westfield State University, United States, Megan Douglas, Missouri Southern State University, United States, Sinéad G Ruane, Central Connecticut State University, United States

Publication date: 9 October 2023

Katherine Lucey and Solar Sister: Empowering Women in Sub-Saharan Africa to Create Clean Energy Businesses

Munmun Samantarai, ICFAI Business School Hyderabad, India and Sanjib Dutta, ICFAI Business School Hyderabad, India

Publication date: 4 December 2023

SHEROES - Empowering Women Digitally Through the 'Women Only Social Network

Anil Anirudhan, ICFAI Business School Hyderabad, India and Munmun Samantarai, ICFAI Business School Hyderabad, India

Not yet published

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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