Racism, Discrimination Against Women Helped Me – Okonjo-Iweala

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A Nigerian former finance and foreign minister, Ngozie Okonjo-Iweala, has said racism and discrimination against women has helped her power through adversity and manage triumphs.

She wrote this in her latest book, ‘Women and Leadership: Real Lives. Real Lessons’ which she co-authored with Australia’s first female prime minister Julia Gillard.

The book, which gives a summary of both women’s rise in politics and their role in impacting lives, contains conversations with “some of the world’s most powerful women,” including Hillary Clinton, Theresa May, Joyce Banda, Christine Lagarde, Jacinda Ardern, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Michelle Bachelet, and Erna Solberg.

Explaining her inspiration for the project, Okonjo-Iweala said: “As I mulled over my own bittersweet journey as Nigeria’s first female Finance Minister and Foreign Minister, I observed a series of events unfold around the world that unseated women leaders like Presidents Park Geun-hye of South Korea and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election, Joyce Banda took a break from her country, and so on.

“Women leaders seemed to be having a tough time and I began to wonder, what were their leadership pathways?

“What had got them to the point they were now at?

“What successes and failures could they share?

“What could other women learn from their leadership journeys?”

‘Women and Leadership: Real Lives. Real Lessons’ was published by Bantam Press on September 3 2020.

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