It is the 21st century, and if there is something which is still common and only increasing by the day it is that – more and more women are taking the onus for the betterment of the society and inspiring thousands of people across the world. Here are leadership lessons from 10 real mom leaders.
There is always a heated debate since time immemorial on the topic: whether women should continue work after having a baby. Can a woman manage a full-time corporate job? Or can she be handing a home business to something as taxing and tiring as serving the society and working at the grass-root level? While men have had varied opinions on this burning topic, women have time and again shown that all it takes is – ‘sheer gut and determination’ to keep it all going, and to keep it all under control.
Women across the world have only moved ahead in their professional lives, even if it meant continuing work after having a child or two.
We are looking to discuss some great work done by women leaders, those who have been active helpers, positively contributing towards our community through their powerful and unimaginable strength. They have successfully nailed it and broken the taboo – the stigma associated with the old world saying that – women cannot be good leaders. From not being given the right to vote, to inspiring millions of other women across the world even post motherhood, women have really come a long way.
10 leadership lessons from inspiring real mom leaders across the world:
1. Aung Sann Suu Kyi
If there is one woman leader whose name still resonates with most people in the South-East Asian subcontinent, it is Aung Sann Suu Kyi. Born in Yangon, but raised primarily in India, Aung Sann Suu Kyi, went onto become one of the most prominent leaders of her country. She was also conferred with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She has two sons and is known for waging a war on behalf of her country. The flipside to this is, that she had to spend her two-decade-year-old political struggle in her home country, while her sons lived away from her for the most part of their lives.
In her own words…
“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
2. Indira Nooyi
She happens to be PepsiCo’s first woman Chief Executive Officer, during which the sales of the company were as high as 80 %. While most of the times she struggled in finding the right balance between family and work, in between she developed a coping mechanism which till date she suggests to every working mom. She particularly iterated the fact all through her career she would give instructions to her personal secretary, which were then followed by her daughter Tyra.
She went onto say…
“If you don’t do that, I’m serious, if you don’t develop mechanisms with your secretaries, with the extended office, with everybody around you, it cannot work.”
In a candid interview, she told a reporter – ‘Women can’t have it all. We need to be at work, then we need to be with the family’. You cannot do justice to all of them at once, that’s humanly not possible.
3. Michelle Obama
Even though Michelle was not directly involved in active politics but being the first wife of the 44th American President, her path changed a bit and she began actively started participating together with her husband. She took up the cause of supporting military families and spouses as a personal mission. Michelle has also actively worked on causes related to ‘Healthy eating ‘and ‘obesity in children’.
If there is one thing which led to her husband’s successful stint at the white house- she attributes it to her girls.
She went ahead and said…
4. Smriti Irani
An actor who took to active politics, Smriti Irani’s story is one of a kind. She took to the service of the nation when she joined politics as an active leader way back in 2004. She went onto bag a prestigious berth in the central government in 2014.
She is a doting mom to three children and keeps on sharing real-life moments on Instagram in between her active political career.
In her own words…
“I am not going to apologise for doing my duty.”
5. Sudha Murthy
An engineer by profession, Sudha Murthy went on to start the ‘Infosys Foundation’ in 1996 with her husband Narayan Murthy. She has been an active entity when it comes to social work, which includes healthcare, education, empowerment of women, public hygiene, art, and culture.
She has also penned down a host of children and adult books which are sure to make you laugh and cry at the same time.
Sharing an excerpt of what she said in an interview:
“In fact, being a woman is an advantage. I was the only girl in class and that made me self-sufficient. I ensured I took my notes, was on class on time and fully focused on what was happening. I had no friends or anyone to spend time with. I am my best companion. Being self-sufficient teaches you to not depend on anyone and tackle any challenges that come your way.”
6. Kiran Bedi
A retired Indian police officer, a social activist a former tennis player are just some of the hats this dynamic lady of steel has donned till date. And if that is not enough, she is serving as the current Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry. She became DCP of Delhi at a time when drug abuse was rampant in the city. She set up at least 30 detox centers in just the first year of her service and helped in rehabilitation.
7. Hillary Clinton
A lawyer and a former first lady Hillary Clinton can very well be regarded as one of the most talented and witty leaders the world has seen. In fact, she is the first ‘First Lady’ to hold a post-graduate degree.
Hillary has always vouched and promoted women to go out and work. She has been very vocal about sacrifices working women makes so that their kids do not have to endure any.
8. Melinda Gates
Wife to one of the wealthiest men on earth, Melinda Gates and her supporting organization has given more money than anyone else in the entire world.
She left her career at Microsoft after her first child. Soon after she founded the ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’- which later went onto become one of the most talked about philanthropist missions.
One of the most famous lines said by Melinda, which still finds resonance across the world goes like –
9. Madeline Albright
Madeline Albright was the first woman to serve as the US Secretary of State. Her constant work in the field of international affairs led her to become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
At a time when only men dominated international political culture, she made sure to speak up at every session of the United Nations, because she always felt –
10. Naina Lal Kidwai
The CEO and country head of HSBC India, Naina was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School. Just like any woman, she also constantly battled the thought between choosing a career or sit at home and raise her child from the comfort of her home. The pressure of taking a break or making the big exit was always there, but she did not give up. Over the years she has not only made a foothold in a male-dominated industry – Banking, and services but has also given her workplace a more gender-neutral environment.