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Female Leaders and Women ‘s Empowerment; 3 Case Studies


The issue of women’s empowerment and gender equality is a global issue and one that, in many parts of the world, is in dire need of attention. It is for this reason I have decided to examine whether women in positions of power facilitate the enactment of gender-oriented measures or whether they continue to focus on the traditional national security interests, or interests of another kind, of their countries. My hypothesis is that women in power are not significantly more likely than men to pursue gender-specific policies while in office. Instead, much depends on environmental factors and individual personality. Sometimes other issues, like security are more likely to hold the attention of female leaders, but even absent security threats, female leaders will still vary in their level of attention to these issues, vis-à-vis other social issues. I have chosen this topic because it is a common assumption that women leaders will be concerned with issues pertaining to women and children, as we have seen in the past with some female leaders, but while this may be true in some cases, it is not true in all, so I would like to further explore some possible explanations about the conditions that facilitate such attention. I am particularly interested in women that have come to power in developing countries after serious conflict because both the political and social conditions in these countries are dire and statistics clearly show that across the board, in third world countries, women are a fourth world themselves. I have therefore chosen the following women leaders to study: President Violeta Chamorro of Nicaragua, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan.

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