This study identifies eight attributes of female leadership that has contributed to the success of the Pedagogical Leadership in Africa (PedaL) partnership, one of three SPHEIR projects addressing pedagogical reform. PedaL is a partnership between higher education institutes in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the UK. Academics from these partner institutions have trained and established a network of teachers in African universities to transform graduate education by embedding innovative pedagogy within graduate social science programmes. The partnership is led by Dr Beatrice Muganda of Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) in Nairobi, Kenya. The PedaL approach represents a systemic shift from dominant traditional teaching models to more participatory, student-centred approaches. It is gender-sensitive and subject content integrates an analytical lens on power and inequality. Dr Muganda’s leadership approach reframes what it takes to be a successful leader, to manoeuvre skillfully and to bring power on side, so as to expand opportunities for students to contribute to inclusive social and economic development.