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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

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Mar 4, 2021

Women make up fewer than ten percent of national leaders worldwide, and behind this eye-opening statistic lies a pattern of unequal access to power. Julie Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, both political leaders in their own countries, set about exploring this gender bias in their book Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons.

Gillard and Okonjo-Iweala joined us to discuss the conversations they had with internationally recognized women leaders, including Jacinda Ardern, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Christine Lagarde, Michelle Bachelet, and Teresa May. From their unique positions as fellow political leaders, Gillard and Okonjo-Iweala were able to have candid conversations with some of the most influential women in the world. They relayed stories from their many interviewees, speaking honestly and freely, of having their ideas stolen by male colleagues, what it’s like to be called fat or a slut in the media, and what things they wish they had done differently. With incisive analysis backed by current research, they examined how gender and sexism affect perceptions of women as leaders. Providing rare insight, they asked us to consider why there aren’t more women in leadership—and present a powerful call to arms for women everywhere.

Julia Gillard was the 27th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 2010 to 2013.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was Nigeria’s Minister of Finance from 2003 to 2006 and from 2011 to 2015, and Foreign Minister in 2006. She was Managing Director of the World Bank from 2007 to 2011, overseeing South Asia, Europe, Central Asia, and Africa, and is currently Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Chair of the African Risk Capacity (ARC). She is the author of Reforming the Unreformable and Fighting Corruption Is Dangerous.

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