It’s fair to say that COVID-19 has affected every person and country across the world. Yet, amidst the uncertainty, some governments have proven more capable than others—most of them led by women. “From Taiwan to Germany, Finland to New Zealand, female presidents and prime ministers have met this moment with strength and compassion,” writes Alyse Nelson, president and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, in luxury book publisher Assouline’s upcoming Vital Voices: 100 Women Using Their Power to Empower.
The tome is as much a piece of art as it is a slice of history: the 220-page book pays tribute to 100 influential women leaders across the globe through painted portraits and first-person narratives. The book offers a look at the dynamic facets of female leadership across generations and sectors—from the art world to the global political stage—to both celebrate and emphasize their necessity. Featured women include Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and Jacinda Ardern—each illustrated by Gayle Kabaker, whose work has been featured on the New Yorker’s cover several times.
“What’s become abundantly clear is that today’s world isn’t set up to solve the challenges of tomorrow,” writes Nelson in the introduction. “The greatest problems our world faces—from access to quality healthcare and addressing climate justice, to tackling gender inequality and rooting out racial injustice—are deeply interconnected. We urgently need new ideas and new voices to lead us forward.”
As National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman writes in the foreword:
“When our world is led by leaders ahead
Of the headlines, the voices
Who are first on the frontline,
These women who stand up, Knowing the wind
Not by where it is, but where it is blowing.”
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