Women and Leadership by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Title: Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons
Author: Julia Gillard, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Published: February 2021 (International Release)
Publisher: MIT Press
Readership: Adult
Genre: Politics
Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of Women and Leadership from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A powerful call to action for achieving equality in leadership.

Women make up fewer than ten per cent of national leaders worldwide, and behind this eye-opening statistic lies a pattern of unequal access to power. Through conversations with some of the world’s most powerful and interesting women–including Jacinda Ardern, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Christine Lagarde, Michelle Bachelet, and Theresa May–Women and Leadership explores gender bias and asks why there aren’t more women in leadership roles.

I first heard about this book during the 2020 Melbourne Writer’s Festival when it ran its very first online festival. Julia Gillard was talking about this book, the research that had gone into it and some of her personal experiences along the road to publication. It piqued my interest but it wasn’t until only recently that I had the time to actually sit down and read it.

Women and Leadership are the stories of women who have reached the top of the political (or business) sphere and their journeys on the road to success and the way they were received as leaders. Gillard and Okonjo-Iweala have pieced together their own personal experiences, as well as those of the women they interviewed, and from there posed a series of hypothesis as to why there aren’t more women in these leadership roles.

The women they interviewed range in experiences, come from different countries and even in age. The interviews and anecdotes shared within the book are frank, honest and insightful, and I was introduced to a range of inspirational women as a result.

It’s definitely not a book you’ll read cover-to-cover in one sitting – it took me a few days to get through it and to sit with the ideas presented. It was both interesting and engaging, and as a female leader in her workplace (not politics, though) it was a great contrast to see how women leaders in predominately male-lead spheres compared to working in a female dominated workplace.

If you’re at all interested in female leaders, politics or the gender divide (in both) this is well worth a read.

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