Making A Difference

A Voice for Women Leaders

Laura Liswood (MBA 1976)

Laura Liswood (MBA 1976) is cofounder and secretary general of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international network of current and former female prime ministers and presidents that aims to have impact globally on issues of critical importance to women. In this video, she explains the mission and goals of the high-level women leaders who make up the organization, which was founded in 1996.

“The mission of the Council of Women World Leaders had actually started with a question that I had, which was, what would it be like to have a woman president in the United States? So I ended up going around the world, and I met all of the living women presidents and prime ministers, and asked them questions about their leadership. Then we ended up having a summit, and we formed a council of these women leaders.

“Part of the reason the council exists is to increase the visibility of women, to understand that, just like men, women are entitled to be leaders, and that this was a way to create a collective voice.

“There are a number of reasons why we see more women leaders in other countries than we see in the United States. Different political systems, where you have a president and a prime minister; a number of the women have come to power as legacy leaders after their husbands or fathers have been assassinated, or been in office. Obviously in countries like the Nordic countries, where you have far more equal systems, if you will, there are more women in these positions.

“I think for a lot of the women leaders, particularly the former leaders after they’ve been in office, they want to find a place to continue the missions that they feel are important, whether they’re health, or environment, or women’s leadership issues. They want to continue to have that platform. And so, my role is to make sure we get all the women who have been elected as members, and to create events and ways to create dialogue amongst women, and, again, to create that sense of voice for women.”

(Published January 2017)

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