Hillary Clinton getting the votes in 2016 was a popular answer from Schnall’s interesting range of contributors. Senators, celebrities, writers and campaigners are interviewed in this engaging exploration of women and leadership. The idea came from Schnall’s daughter asking, on the election of Barack Obama, why there hadn’t ever been a female president. The book encourages open contributions – a text of this title could have had a singular argument, or a more essay-style structure. It is creditable that it feels like an ongoing conversation. Responses vary – Republican senators give personal anecdotes of achievement in adversity, while academics talk more broadly of cultural shifts.
I was most delighted by the general advice of wise feminists. Maya Angelou, for example, said the following: ‘I would encourage us to try our best to develop courage. It’s the most important of all the virtues, because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can be anything erratically – kind, fair, true, generous, all that. But to be that thing time after time, you need courage.’
Recurring themes and questions could make this feel a little repetitive if read all at once, but ultimately, this makes it feel more like an authentic discussion, with people sharing and rethinking each other’s ideas. This book is a worthwhile part of a vital conversation about women in politics.
Have a look at some excerpts here.
Thanks to Perseus Books Group, Seal Press and NetGalley for the review copy.