Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons

MIT. Feb. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780262045742. $29.95. SOC SCI
A significant lack of women in leadership roles is still prevalent in the world today. Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia, and Okonja-Iweala, Nigeria’s Finance Minister from 2003-2006 and 2011-2015 and former Managing Director of the World Bank, collaborate to examine why this is happening and consider ways to work toward equality. Both women have drawn upon their own experiences and also on interviews they conducted with noted women leaders today, including Hillary Clinton, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Michelle Bachelet, Christine Lagarde, Joyce Banda, Erna Solberg, and Jacinda Ardern. The authors study the diverse experiences of these women and how they became leaders. Notably, they take care to consider the obstacles women in leadership face, especially the hurdles for women entering politics. The ultimate lesson learned is that there is no “right way” to be a woman leader; all situations are unique and there are no specific set of rules for balancing work and personal endeavors. Also mentioned is the impact of COVID-19 on leadership and home life for women. The book concludes with bibliographic notes and a historical timeline of women leaders.
VERDICT A thought-provoking study of women and leadership and an outstanding contribution to this topic. Highly recommended.
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