Women as Global Leaders: Challenges & Strategies for Getting to the Top

By Susan R. Madsen and Faith Wambura Ngunjiri

In this article, Susan R. Madsen and Faith Wambura Ngunjiri discuss the challenges facing women in global leadership roles. Drawing on research found in their newly released book titled Women as Global Leaders, Madsen and Ngunjiri highlight the unique qualities that women bring to global leadership roles and provide advice and strategies for maximising those qualities successfully.


Towards the end of 2014‭, ‬the world watched in wonder as Malala Yousafzai was crowned the Nobel Peace Prize winner‭ – ‬the youngest‭ ‬person‭, ‬male or female‭, ‬to ever win the award‭. ‬Malala was catapulted to the global stage when she was shot and almost killed by‭ ‬the Taliban due to her advocacy for education rights for girls in Pakistan‭. ‬Malala stands as one of the youngest exemplars of women as global leaders‭, ‬as her activist leadership transcends the borders of race‭, ‬class‭, ‬gender and nation‭. ‬She is one of the global women leaders profiled in our recent book‭ ‬Women as Global Leaders‭,‬1‭ ‬along with Professor Wangari Maathai‭, ‬Aung San Sun Kyi‭, ‬Margaret Thatcher‭, ‬Golda Meir‭, ‬and others‭. ‬We believe‭ – ‬and our contributing authors agree‭ – ‬that these trailblazers provide extraordinary examples worth exploring and learning from‭. ‬

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About the Authors

Madsen-HeadshotSusan R. Madsen is the Orin R. Woodbury Professor of Leadership and Ethics at Utah Valley University in Utah, USA. She has published nearly 100 articles, chapters, and reports and four books of her work. She presents often and is the founder of numerous successful local, national and international women and leadership networks.

Faith-HeadshotFaith Wambura Ngunjiri is Director at the Lorentzsen Center for Faith and Work at Concordia College, in Minnesota, USA. She has published books, book chapters, and articles focusing on women and leadership, and presents at various local, national, and international conferences. She is author of Women’s Spiritual Leadership in Africa (SUNY, 2010).


1. Ngunjiri, F. W., & Madsen, S. R. (Eds.) (2015). Women as Global Leaders (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing).

2. World Economic Forum (2014) The Global Gender Gap Report. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GGGR14/GGGR_CompleteReport_2014.pdf, p. 39.

3. Catalyst Information Center (2013). Why Diversity Matters, http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/why-diversity-matters; Madsen, S. R. (2015). Why do we Need More Women Leaders in Utah, http://www.uvu.edu/uwlp/docs/uwlpbrief2015no5.pdf.

4. World Economic Forum (2014) The Global Gender Gap Report. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GGGR14/GGGR_CompleteReport_2014.pdf, p. v.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The Political Anthropologist.


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