Illinois held a general primary election earlier this week, which makes this a great time to showcase a few women who hold or have held the highest political office in their countries.
Aung San Suu Kyi by Jesper Bengsston
“The leader of Burma’s democracy movement, Aung San Suu Kyi, has joined Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama in the global pantheon of those whose lives are dedicated to freedom. Throughout the world, she is associated with a peaceful struggle for democracy and human rights. But what is she really like? What drives her to make such enormous personal sacrifices for her country? Jesper Bengtsson presents a portrait of one of today’s most significant political activists. He chronicles her background as the daughter of Burma’s liberation hero Aung San, the years she spent in England and New York, and her return to Burma in the 1980s. First placed under house arrest by the military junta in 1989, she spent fifteen of the subsequent twenty-one years in captivity, separated from her husband and two children. Throughout that period, she remained a unifying figure and activist for Burma’s democracy movement. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, she saw her reputation and her international stature grow the longer she was under house arrest. Upon her release in November 2010, she immediately took up her work with the democracy movement and proved that she remains the most important political force in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi‘s ability to affect people and repressive regimes reflects not only her personal charisma and courage but also her devotion to one of the great issues of our times: What is necessary for democracy to evolve from a deeply authoritarian system?”–Publisher’s description.
Queen Rania Al-Abdullah by Leia Tait
Presents a biography of the Jordanian queen known for her humanitarian efforts.*
* Description from Amazon.
Benazir Bhutto: From Prison to Prime Minister by Libby Hughes
A biography of Benazir Bhutto, discussing her childhood, education, imprisonment, personal life, her father’s assassination, and her election to prime minister of Pakistan.
Indira Gandhi by Trevor Fishlock
Describes how Indira Gandhi, intimately involved in Indian political life even from childhood, became prime minister and the first woman to lead her country.
Angela Merkel: Europe’s Most Influential Leader by Matthew Qvortrup
The in-depth biography of Angela Merkel, using exclusive new sources and research to tell how the daughter of a clergyman from East Germany rose to become one of the most powerful women in the world.
This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
In January 2006, after the Republic of Liberia had been racked by fourteen years of brutal civil conflict, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Africa’s “Iron Lady” was sworn in as president, an event that marked a tremendous turning point in the history of the West African nation.
In this stirring memoir, Sirleaf shares the inside story of her rise to power, including her early childhood; her experiences with abuse, imprisonment, and exile; and her fight for democracy and social justice. This compelling tale of survival reveals Sirleaf’s determination to succeed in multiple worlds: from her studies in the United States to her work as an international bank executive to her election campaigning in some of Liberia’s most desperate and war-torn villages and neighborhoods. It is also the story of an outspoken political and social reformer who, despite danger, fought the oppression of dictators and championed change. By sharing her story, Sirleaf encourages women everywhere to pursue leadership roles at the highest levels of power, and gives us all hope that, with perseverance, we can change the world.*
* Description from Goodreads.