WOMEN LEADERS: THE BETTER LEADERS WHAT DO THE GLOBAL EXPERIENCES SAY?
WOMEN LEADERS: THE BETTER LEADERS WHAT DO THE GLOBAL EXPERIENCES SAY? Keshav Prasad BhattaraiDuring a course on Trade Union Administration and Management in the International Institute ofHistadrut in Israel in 1997, Raymonde Kan a French female teacher told us that women are truerto the causes of family, organization and nation and hence will never betray them. They havebetter leadership quality than men. „Look at home and realize it in your organization‟ she said.Further Ms. Kan suggested us to include at least one woman in all negotiations with governmentbecause they will never give in. In a pleasing way she remarked that while the male leaders maydeviate from the vital interests of the organization for some petty interests and benefits thatgovernment or management may offer, women on the other hand will always be away from suchtemptations. When some of my friends probably from South Africa and Mauritius wanted to raisesome questions, she quipped „I know, you want to contradict and present some examples, but theyare exceptions and exceptions do not make a rule either in a society or in nature‟.Everybody knows Mangala Devi, Shailaja Acharya, Sahana pradhan or Bidhya Bhandari in politicsand Anuradha Koirala in social service. To my knowledge and working experiences with womenteacher leaders from Mary Hatwood Futrell (USA), Susan Hopgood ( Australia), Aud Elisabeth Wasa(Norway) Teopista Birungi Mayanja (Uganda) Sashi Bala Singh (India) to Madhavi Katwal and PurnaJoshi (Nepal), I know they have proven their quality, competency and commitment in leadershipin way much better than their male colleagues. When I was leading teachers bodies in Nepal aswell at South Asia, my experiences in working with women teacher leaders from local to globallevel clearly exhibited: whatever responsibilities they are entrusted with, they perform it withgreater vigor, intelligence of mind and superb commitment.Pages of world history are full of great women heroes. Queen Boudicca (around A.D.30 – 62) forthe first time hoisted the flag of British nationalism and exhibited unparallel resolve to live a lifeof dignity or go perished. The legendary Laxmi Bai, popularly known as „Jhansi ki Rani‟ (1835-1858)was another glorious example. The Joan of Arc (France) Isabella I (Spain), Elizabeth I andVictoria England) Catherine the Great (Russia) Rajendralaxmi (Nepal) all have exhibited the rareleadership qualities: from great sacrifice to creativity, intelligence, political astuteness, courageand bravery to lead the most troubled time of their national history.Equally, women have given new directions to human civilization with their enriched contributionsin other areas: Jane Austin (literature), Harriet Stowe (Anti – slavery movement), the legendaryFlorence Nightingle, Mary Cassatt (painting) Emmeline Pankhurst (Social reformer and campaigner
of women suffrage), Marie Curie (scientist) and Emily Murphy ( Women Rights Campaigner). Andobviously they had to struggle much harder than any man to gain that height.In recent history Golda Meir (Israel) Indira Gandhi (India), Margaret Thatcher (UK) and BenezirBhutto (Pakistan) have demonstrated how hard fight women leaders can make when their countryendures hard times. The modern world has also seen great women heroes like Eva Paron, HellenKeller, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Hodgkin, Rosa Parks, Mairead Corrigan, Betty Williams, andOprah Winfrey, who with their unusual creativity, courage and commitment have given betterleadership in range of human activities. It was the great visionary zeal and sense of courage ofEleanor Roosevelt (USA), who as Head of UNHRC drafted the declaration of Human Rights andhelped democracy put on more substance and meaning.HILLARY CLINTON: THE GREAT SECRETARY OF STATERobert Gates - one of Americas most influential and longest serving defense secretary, who with hisimpressive knowledge and experiences having served Eight American Presidents from Richard Nixon toBarrack Obama in different capacities, has said that Hillary Clinton is one of the great secretary of statethe country ever has. Gates further said that Clinton has proven ability to fit in all those great qualitiesthat is needed to serve the country and the President as the Secretary of State of the United States.(TIME, Apr. 18, 2012)“In a world that is ever more complex, turbulent and dangerous, Secretary Clinton, 64, has made a singularcontribution to strengthening this countrys relationships with allies, partners and friends; rallying othercountries to join us in dealing with challenges to the global order, . . . and reaching out to people in scoresof countries to demonstrate that America cares about them” Robert Gates continued.The first Pentagon Chief carried over by the President of another party for his outstanding capabilityfurther said Clinton “has developed, for the first time, long-range, comprehensive strategies for diplomacyand development that will strengthen the critical civilian contribution to Americas national securityabroad.” How indefatigable Hillary Clinton is, can best be acknowledged by the number of more than 100countries she visited in three and half years as Secretary of State. She has covered the distance morethan 13, 15,000 kilometers and spent nearly one year in abroad championing the cause of American people,American allies, global peace and development including the issues of women and children. It is a matter tonote that next to Clinton it was another woman Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who had set arecord by visiting 96 countries and served her country with greater sense of courage and commitment.Between Clinton and Albright the world has seen another illustrious woman Secretary of State CondoleezzaRice.Working brilliantly and wholeheartedly and serve her country under a man who had defeated herselfin her bid to Democratic Party‟s nomination for the Presidential race in 2008, was perhaps thegreatest challenge for Hillary Clinton in her public life. In the beginning she did not enjoy the full
confidence of the president she was serving. Senior White House staffs and President‟s aides weretreating her as political rival.Probably no American Secretary of State had to tread his/ her journey under such precarioussituation. Furthermore she lacked the extensive knowledge, experiences and intellectual moorings ondiplomacy and foreign policy that her predecessors were greatly endowed with. But her exceptionalwork ethics, sharp intelligence, political astuteness and inflexible resolve to serve the nation has madeher an amazing Secretary of State in no time. Moreover, as a brilliant politician gifted with skill andpatience to listen people, deal with their concerns and address them with vitality and courage, helpedher wield enormous influence of her country in world arena and make a history around her indomitablepersonality.RISING FEMALE LEADERS IN RISING AFRICAEllen Johnson Sirleaf, the acclaimed economist is the president of Liberia since 2005. She is the firstwoman elected to lead a country in modern African history and is called as Iron Lady for her iron will anddetermination. Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf, a renowned reformer and peacemaker were jointly awarded the NobelPeace Prize in October 2011 with the other two ladies - one from her own country Ms. Leymah Gbowee – apeace activist and another - Tawakul Karman - a pro-democracy campaigner from Yemen.Before Johnson Sirleaf was elected, the country was ruined by more than 14 years of civil war that claimedthe lives of more than 200,000 people and displaced one third of its 3.5 million populations. The entiredevelopment infrastructure from road to electricity and water supply had collapsed. Rampant poverty, massunemployment and civil discontents had swallowed up the future of the country. To return peace in the country, Johnson Sirleaf instituted a national dialogue – with similar role as truthcommission. She succeeded in finding a fine balance between forgiving people and making people involved inatrocities face justice.The next is Joyce Banda the first female president in Malawi - one of the poorest countries in the world,with an estimated 75% of the population living on less than $1 (60p) a day. A tireless fighter for women‟sright, Banda had earned global recognition for founding National Association of Business Women thatlends start-up cash to small-scale traders as Muhammad Yunus‟s Grameen Bank supported poor women inBangladesh. Banda the elected Vice President has assumed the Presidency following the death of thelongtime ruler Bingu wa Mutharika amid huge challenge in a terribly male dominated society.In a recent news story – the fairer leaders - New York Times says that in a first round of parliamentaryelection held in Senegal last week, half the candidates were women as per the provision of law. In all subSaharan countries they have impressive quotas for women and according to the New York Times six ofthem top the world in female representation. In Rwanda 56 percent of parliamentary seats are held bywomen – putting these countries well ahead of United States, France and Japan – that are just below 19percent mark.Growing number of female politicians in any country is supposed to humanize politics, acceleratedevelopment, ensure better service delivery, reduce corruption, promote accountability and diversify thepolicy agenda that promotes equity and justice in all sections of society pursuing the strong will anddetermination women leaders are gifted with. This altogether will end conflict among people and peace and
development will receive rich dividends. On the light of this, the famous quote of former British PrimeMinister Margaret Thatcher that reads-“In politics if you want anything said ask a man: if you wantanything done ask a woman” seems quite true email@example.com The Reporter Weekly, July 16-22,2012