6 Essential Lessons For Women Leaders From Julia Gillard And Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

In a rich conversation full of practical insights, former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard and former Finance Minister of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reflect on their experiences as women leaders in positions of global power and share six standout lessons on what it takes to lead and build solidarity in the face of gender bias and stereotypes.

Julia Gillard

An advocate for women’s leadership, the Honorable Julia Gillard was 27th Prime Minister of Australia.

Hon Julia Gillard is the inaugural chair of the Global Insitute for Women’s Leadership at Kings College London, which addresses women’s underrepresentation in leadership through research, practice and advocacy. She is coauthor of Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She is the patron of CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education, and serves as the chair of the global funding body for education in developing countries, the Global Partnership for Education. Gillard is also the chair of Beyond Blue, Australia’s leading mental health awareness body.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

A respected global economist, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s parents instilled in her the value of service to others.

In 2021, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala became the first African and first woman appointed director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO). From 2003 to 2006, she was the Finance Minister of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, and then became the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, the first woman to hold either position. From 2011 to 2015, she was again named Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy of Nigeria. She worked to free her country from 30 billion dollars of debt owed to the Paris Club, modernized the financial management systems by introducing transparency and publishing government accounts and used technology to help block leakage of revenues and fight corruption.

Image Licence: Julia Gillard - Creator: Michael Kovac; Copyright: 2017 Michael Kovac | Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - FABRICE COFFRINI; Credit: AFP via Getty Images