Benazir Bhutto — Female Leader in Public PolicyMarch 23, 2009
During women’s history month, it is important not only to reflect on women who are or have been leaders in American politics but also to commemorate the vast achievements of women leaders throughout the globe. I remember the day that Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated in a brutal terrorist attack while campaigning in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. I was shocked, and my spirit was saddened. Would the world know what it would miss?
I realize that there has been disagreement in the feminist community about whether Bhutto was a true champion of women’s rights, but in my opinion, considering the opposition she faced, I trust that she truly was. Bhutto did what she could to give optimism to women with no hope. The feminism of her loosely wrapped head scarf and red lipstick that many have criticized were merely compliments to her stoic and determined spirit. She was a woman; she was an acclaimed leader; and I absolutely admired her. Faced with steep resistance throughout her career, Bhutto never let go of the goals she had for her beloved country, Pakistan. Even while living in exile in Britain and with her country subject to military rule, Bhutto worked from abroad to strengthen her political party, the Pakistan People’s Party, and to foster the return of democracy to Pakistan. Although born into a family of political dignitaries and privileged to receive high quality education, Bhutto used her influence and affluence to effect change for the better. While serving as prime minister, she made hunger, poverty, education, and health care her top priorities as part of her dream to continue to modernize Pakistan. To me, Bhutto represented a “yes I can” attitude — one of determination for change, equality, and justice. Benazir Bhutto’s influential role in world politics signifies the rise of women as valued and essential world leaders.