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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Women Power


The second half of the 20th century saw the emergence of the women ruling the nations. More than fifty women prime ministers have emerged to date tearing the bastions of power to shape the world. Till the turn of the century the women who lead from front were very few and far between from the times of Nefertiti and Cleopatra of Egypt, Joan of Arc of France, Isabella of Spain, Mary Queen of Scots, Catherine the Great of Russia, and Queen Victoria and Elizabeth of England. In all just about 20 women stooped to conquer the world in the entire human history prior to mid 20th century.

In the recent times the one’s that caught the imagination of the world for their styles of leadership and aura, the notable ones were Sirimavo Bhandaranaike of Srilanka, Mrs Indira Gandhi of India, Golda Meir of Israel, Margaret Thatcher of UK, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, Sheikh Hasina Wajed of Bangaladesh and Angela Merkel - the Chancellor of Germany. Each of them has contributed significantly to the world and has made a difference. A quick scan of their profiles would reveal this.

Sirimavo Bhandaranaike had the unique honor to have lead her country thrice after coming into power after the assassination of her husband Solomon Bhandaranaike (in 1956) who was, the then prime minister. She also had the singular distinction of being handed the mandate to lead her nation in 1994 for the third time by her own daughter Chandrika Kumaratunga who was the president of Srilanka!

Mrs Indira Gandhi was the daughter of the first Prime Minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru of India and ran the office of Prime Minister for two terms before being pre maturely assassinated in 1984.Mrs Indira Gandhi was the architect of creation of Bangladesh after the 1971 war between India and Pakistan. She was a firm leader and understood the pulse of the country except for the period when emergency was imposed. She had to pay with her own life for having ordered clearance of the Golden Temple which was occupied by the Sikh militants at the height of insurgency in 1984.

Golda Meir was the first woman PM of Israel who was a teacher by profession and an avid politician. She was described as ‘The Iron Lady’ before this term was applied to Mrs Margret Thatcher of England. She demonstrated her leadership to the world when the Black September outfit killed the Olympics squad of Israel at Munich Olympics in 1972, by ordering Mossad (Israeli Intelligence Agency) to ruthlessly pursue and eliminate those responsible for the carnage. Later, Steven Spielberg created the movie ’Munich’ based on this real life incident. After the debacle of Yom Kippur war in 1973, where the military preparedness of Israel was found wanting, she resigned even after having won the elections in 1974.

Mrs Margret Thatcher had the unique distinction of being the longest serving Prime Minister (1979- 1990) of United Kingdom and was dubbed as the ‘Iron Lady’ for dealing with former Soviet Union deftly. She was considered to be the only man in the British parliament for her unique style of having handled the trade unions and the invasion of the ‘Falkland islands’ by Argentina. She mobilized the task force of the Royal Navy to be mobilized thousands of kilometers away in Atlantic Ocean and ordered the sinking of the Argentinean vessel ‘General Belgrano’ by British Nuclear submarine assigned the task. This broke the will of the invading Argentinean forces and the Falklands islands occupation was regained by Great Britain, surging the popularity of Mrs Thatcher to a new high resulting in her reelection in 1983.

Benazir Bhutto was the charismatic daughter of erstwhile Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. She too served two non consecutive terms as the Prime Minister of Pakistan becoming the first woman to rule a Muslim dominated nation. Benazir Bhutto was the proponent of the Nuclear Weapons program and renewed the thrust in modernization in this area, despite passing of ‘Pressler Amendment’ by USA in an attempt to freeze the nuclear program. She was also responsible for the development of missiles and space program and the first military satellite was placed in space orbit by assistance from China. Thus, Pakistan too earned the distinction of having its own satellite in space. She was assassinated in a bomb attack in an election rally near Rawalpindi on 27 Dec 2007, bringing her political career to an abrupt end.

Sheikh Hasina is the eldest of five daughters of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, the founder father of Bangladesh. She is currently the Prime Minister of Bangladesh running a second term since 2008 after having served one term from 1996-2001. One of her major achievement was the ‘Farakka treaty’ with India signed to share the water and a ‘Peace Treaty’ with the mountain rebels. After having served one term, her party was voted out of power for prevailing corruption, and being voted as the most corrupt nation by Transparency International. She returned with a thumping majority in 2008 and holds the reins of power.

Angela Merkel a physical chemist by profession rose to become the Chancellor of Germany and also the first woman to occupy this position in November 2005.She was awarded doctorate for her thesis in Quantam Chemistry and has several papers to her credit. Following the fall of major stock markets in September 2008, she played a pivotal role for bailout package exceeding 30 billion Euros to assist the mortgage company Hypo Real Estate. She has been rated as one of the most powerful woman by Forbe’s magazine for many years in succession.

The emergence of the rising women power in the 21st century is all too evident. The advances in information technology, rising education levels and aspirations of women have made them compete with men in the areas of erstwhile male dominance. They are successful industrialists, educationists, professionals and are now in military holding responsible positions. Notwithstanding, all these achievements they are the home makers in every part of the world.


74 comments:

  1. Nice post Rahulji,coming on the eve of womens day. All these leaders showed admirable resolve during difficult times and held their own. May these women inspire more people :)

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  2. Great inspirations indeed, fabulous post!

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  3. such inspiring women
    loved reading about Golda Meir - the lesser known of them all - well, at least i didn't know about her till i read your post
    it is no mean task what they have achieved

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  4. Inspiring Rahulji, as Sujatha mentioned, didnot know about Golda Meir. Loved reading it!

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    1. Am happy Jenny that I could add something new

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  5. It was nice of you to put together about these women who played a pivotal role in modern world. Though US has no woman president to its credit, Ms. Condolezza Rice was an equally powerful lady. Its justified to add her in the above league of ladies. :)

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  6. What a great post- you have given a wonderful synopsis for each woman which helps us to understand more why they achieved the positions they were in.

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  7. Made a nice read... Loved the short and crisp write up on each of these distinguished women.

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  8. And, it is interesting to note that all these PMs and Presidents in the subcontinent actually were a product of dynasties often coming up after their fathers or husband died or were killed. Sadly, the lot of women in the subcontinent especially the poor and the traditional continues to be very bad.

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    1. Dynasties and our obsession for them :( true

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    2. Dynasties and our obsession for them :( true

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  9. You made the pint rahul, however a lot needs to be done yet.
    In Italy salries are non comparable among genders but most importantly there are still a lot of countries were women are treated as bests. Hopefully this will end someday...

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    1. True we have still a long way to go!

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  10. Thnx for the lovely post Rahul ji. These women were really strong and defied all that went against them. More power to women! :)

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    1. That was a very nice tribute to some famous women leaders. However if you notice the trend- the women leaders of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh belong to the Biwi, Bahu , Beti brigade! This is very relevant to our context because in our society where women have for generations faced hurdles towards their development there is always a man or atleast an association with a man that propels them ahead. However what happens after that is sad because these women do little to get others like them ahead. They again push their families to seats of power!!

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    2. Thanks Ria Agree more power to them

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    3. Meera you said it all Hope the trend changes

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  11. Fabulous post, Rahul! Very inspiring!

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  12. gr8 post as everyone hass said here..greetings:)

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  13. Thanks for the great post recognizing women, Rahul!

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  14. So good to see you:) they were really great women

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  15. What a lovely post on women! Thanks for writing :)

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  16. As usual very informative and very inspirational .. My personal favorite is Margret Thatcher and Angela Merkel I love the way you always mention about ur wife you got great respect for women unlike many men in our country.. Celebrating women !! Kudos :D

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  17. Thank you for this post. They are great inspirations. My favourites are Thatcher and Gandhi.

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  18. Inspiring, organized and very well written Rahul. Keep it up!

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    1. Welcome to my blog! Very kind of you for those nice words

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  19. Women to talk about and follow for sure


    Bikram's

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  20. What a wonderful post on women..Thank you so much :)

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  21. Cheers to women and to you Rahul, for doing such a loving post on us!

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  22. Thanks Martina we must acknowledge what many women have achieved

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  23. Very well written tribute to Women on the Women's day. It is not easy to write just a few lines about these great women, but here, you just gave the important points, nice!

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  24. Thanks sandhya for those nice words

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  25. I was not aware of couple of ladies from this list. Thanks for showing us the empowered list.

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    1. Thanks Saru!nice short list of achieves:)

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  26. Thank for your sharing so much of information which I guess most of us are not totally aware of. It's always nice to see and read about how these women broke all the barriers and rose to the ocassion to make a mark for themselves in history , inspiring young people like us. Thanks for the informative post Sir :-)

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    1. Ashwini your coent always leaves a nice feeling thanks a lot

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  27. The first woman in the list of inspirational women for me would be Jhansi Rani Laxmi Bai, I think she was the first lady to bring enlightenment and inspiration in women that they are no less than a man in every other field. I admire her the most for her innate qualities and her dedication toward bringing the first revolution against the British.

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    1. Agree Elvirah should have included her too in this post:)

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  28. Hi Rahul, thank you so much for doing this special post honouring women, it is truly gracious of you. These are such inspiring figures that we can all look up to and learn from

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    1. So true Sam inspirational figures all

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  29. Replies
    1. A great honour ..to all these great women..
      thanks for sharing!

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  30. I respect this post so much, less because it comes on the occasion but more because it comes from one who isn't a member of the fairer sex.

    They are inspiring figures, and shall remain so. I admire Golda Meir , admire her a lot lot. and Benazir Bhutto too. Masha'Allah. :)

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    1. Honestly it was a coincidence that this post came on women's day Thanks you liked and delighted to see you after a while

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  31. very detailed post :)
    loved the details u put... they are indeed inspirational figures to all women !!!

    Lovely tribute.

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  32. We need more women in power! Great post.

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  33. Nice post dedicated to women. :)

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  34. Hi Rahul! That is a pretty string of vignettes and it has been duly applauded. I would have loved to see Aung San Suu Ky too, in that list, however.

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  35. Sure Umashankar, Suu Ky was a prominent one but your comment now does this value addition to this post:)

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  36. Great article, Lot of people believe empowerment to women would actually ruin the balance between man and women. I do not think that is the problem. My work with Power to Women Safety has been ridiculed and laughed upon by many men in facebook whenever I have posted workshops info.

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    1. Welcome to my blog Franklin! I visited your blog and found it a step forward in the direction to empower women. The problem in male dominated societies is that they tend to look down upon women just on gender basis whereas I do not believe in this outdated thinking:)

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  37. Wow..This is really inspiring Rahul ji!!:)So good to know about these Iron Ladies! :D

    I always admired Indira Gandhi for her political verve!

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  38. Thanks a lot, Jen. I am happy you liked it:)

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