Two Global Leaders Discuss Women’s Empowerment

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NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA, INCOMING DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION: Well, I think let’s just say today, for every dollar a man earns globally, a woman earns 63 cents. When you take a survey of people, they will say that women will make good leaders. But when you actually come to practice, you will find that they don’t elect women leaders at the same rate as they do men. So, there are these innate biases or attitudinal problems. There are also structural issues, access to credit, access to means to empower themselves. And that holds them back, access to education for girls. And, Christiane, I want to say something. We need to talk to men in order to change things. It’s not good enough to just talk to ourselves as women. So, the book is also for men, because men can be — can take action to improve this.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: That’s absolutely a fundamental point. So, Julia, I’d like to just ask you about those eight hypotheses. And I’m going to ask you, which one do you think applied to you during your political rise?

JULIA GILLARD, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, we have one hypotheses which we have very frankly entitled: “She’s a bit of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED),” which is an unpacking of the global research that…


GILLARD: … when we look at a woman who is exercising power, we can often conclude, because of the sexist whispers in the back of our brains, the stereotyping that’s in all of our brains, that, because she is commanding, because she’s leading, she’s given up on the female traits of empathy and kindness, so she’s probably pretty unlikable. And getting to grips with the global research base and talking to other women leaders about this was a bit of a — the penny-dropping moment for me, because, of course, that surrounded me in politics. The Westminster system here in Australia is a very robust system. The way people often see a prime minister is in question time, in those very adversarial moments, and they don’t come to know you as a full, rounded human being. So, it’s pretty easy to get stuck on these sorts of stereotypes. So, that was very meaningful for me personally. In terms of an action agenda going forward. I’m very drawn to a chapter that we entitled “The Role Modeling Riddle,” if we don’t also talk about the joy in leadership, that it gives you the opportunity to make change, to put your values into action, that we will put young women off. So, I think that chapter has been for me a great reminder that, when we have discussions like this one, we have got to say, yes, there are many things to fix, but please go for it. If you’re a young woman with aspirations, you can be part of the change, and you will find an incredible sense of satisfaction in being a driver in making a better world.

About This Episode EXPAND

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala discuss their new book “Women and Leadership.” The acting President of Kosovo discusses her country’s upcoming election. Former Solicitor General Ted Olson discusses the impeachment trial. Cellist Patrick Dexter discusses making music in lock down.