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  • Hodder Studio
  • Hodder Studio

Strong Female Lead: Lessons from Women in Power

Arwa Mahdawi

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Politics & government

A response to the woeful inadequacy of male leadership, and an investigation into the qualities demonstrated by the female leaders showing us how it's done. Including original research and interviews with Madeleine Albright, Mary Robinson, Alicia Garza, and many others.

From climate change to massive inequality to the decline of trust, the world is facing a number of interconnected crises. Above all else, however, it's facing a crisis of leadership. We have confused confidence with competence and chosen our leaders based not on their skillset and ability, but on how closely they fit our image of a leader. And, funnily enough, that image is very masculine.
It's time to change the narrative around leadership. It's time we stopped pathologizing femininity and recognized that the traits we associate with women - things like empathy and collaboration - are strengths, not weaknesses. It's time we stopped telling women to act like men and started telling men to lead like women. Not for politically correct reasons, but for existential ones.
The world has never been in greater need of good leaders. Strong Female Lead shows us what they're made of.

Strong Female Lead is as razor sharp as it is compelling. Utterly contemporary and relevant, Mahdawi is the best writer to give us a long overdue book that speaks so brilliantly to, and about, all women. - Chimene Suleyman

This is a book I wanted to read before I knew it existed. It explores the vital question - What would the world look like if all positions of power were held by people who prioritised empathy and compassion? People who were not led by ego but by the idea of collaboration and inclusivity? Arwa proves without a shadow of doubt, that our future leaders need to be female or to be men who respect and emulate female leadership. I just hope we can hurry up and get there, for all of our sakes. - Annie Mac

This is a bold, rigorous and lyrical work which feels both timely and essential. Mahdawi has made a thoroughly nuanced and utterly compelling argument for the new and better forms of leadership that our world urgently needs. Please read it, engage with it, then pass it on. - Musa Okwonga

The opposite of a dry marketing manual - funny, intelligent and bursting with ideas from women I'd never heard of, who deserve to be praised for their leadership Pandora Sykes

Any ambitious young person - male or female - should read this book. - Sirin Kale

Arwa Mahdawi's latest book offers a bracing assessment of our current state of financial, ecological, and biopolitical collapse. Turning her attention to the experiences and strategies of women in leadership, Mahdawi brushes aside stale cliches about "leaning in" and "girl bossing" to uncover new social and political strategies. By turns pragmatic, idealistic, and moving, Strong Female Lead will be devoured by powerful women and those who love them. - Grace Lavery, author of Please Miss.

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