Are you making tough decisions? Do you end up questioning your judgment? Does it feel like you’re on your own? You’re not the only one. With the eyes of the world upon them, these women leaders have reached the highest echelons of power, been at the centre of political storms and made decisions that have impacted millions of people and changed the course of history.
So here’s your chance to look at their stories and see how it mirrors your own. Put your feet up, grab a glass of wine and settle down in a quiet corner with one of these books to find answers, draw inspiration and derive strength.
Margaret Thatcher: The Autobiography
On days you question your decisions or the wonder whether as a leader you took the right call, this is the book to pick up and read. The book touches upon the career of Margaret Thatcher, who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990. It touches upon the critical moments when she had to take tough decisions, her political life, her leadership and her will power.
The ‘Iron Lady’, as she was dubbed, also led the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. And her belief: “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman,” sums up what she stood for.
Golda Meir served as Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974. Her autobiography traces her journey from her poverty-stricken days in Kiev (Ukraine) to her becoming one of the very few women in the world to become Prime Minister.
Much of the Middle East before World War II was under the control of France and the UK; the latter had made promises to establish a Jewish homeland. Golda writes, “I have seen my five grandchildren grow up as Jews in a country that is their own. Let no one have any doubts about this. Our children and our children’s children will never settle for anything less.”
In 1939, the British allowed Arab officials to determine the rate of Jewish immigration and called Israel the Jewish homeland (and not the Jewish state). Meir stood up against this policy and emerged as the voice of the Zionist movement.
To believe in something, fight for it and be the voice of many others does not come easy and for those of us walking down that road. My Life serves as a great reference point when the going gets tough.
Daughter of Destiny: An Autobiography
“I seek to lead a democratic Pakistan which is free from the yoke of military dictatorship and that will cease to be a haven, the very petri dish of international terrorism,” wrote Benazir Bhutto in her autobiography.
The beautiful and alluring Bhutto was one of the first women to a lead a post-colonial Muslim state. Benazir came from a rich and a strong political family and was educated abroad at Oxford and Harvard.
The daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a much admired leader and Prime Minister of Pakistan, hanged by General Zia-ul-Haq in 1979, Bhutto talks about her life and about her father’s hanging in the book. Written in 1988, it is a recollection of incidents in her own life and her journey.
The loss of her father and the challenges she faced thereafter were not easy to deal with. But she did what she wanted to and serves as a good example of how one can emerge victorious despite tough and tiring times sometimes seeming overwhelming.
From a First Lady to maybe the future President of United States, Hilary Clinton has been an important part of the American political scene. Spanning the time that she spent as America’s 67th Secretary of State, Hard Choices recounts the challenges she faced in those four years. It focuses on how these years changed, formed and defined her vision and plans for the future.
Hilary Clinton has had a tough life but as a political figure and as a woman leader, she has maintained herself with great poise and dignity and shown that world that she can step up and make hard decisions and even be the President of the US. Never give up, push your boundaries and accept change gracefully is what this leader teaches us.
Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings
Aung San Suu Kyi is the epitome of strength and determination. Her fight for democracy has received support from not only the people of Myanmar, but of other countries and political leaders across the globe. As the Burmese opposition and the president of the National League for Democracy, she has steadfastly tried to break the regime of the military government and bring democracy to Myanmar. She was detained as a political prisoner under house arrest for almost 15 years and yet her party swept the last general elections held in 2015.
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, Aung San has been fearless in her struggle. Her story shows us that even one person can bring in change or create an impact if one is fearless in one’s belief and undefeated in one’s determination.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about the women who inspire you.