Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World

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"We must proclaim to the world, clearly and as one, that thesewomen are heroes, their work is valuable, and their voices arevital."
From the Foreword by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Vital Voices shares the unforgettable triumphs andstruggles of women who are changing our world. In this powerfulaccount, Alyse Nelson takes us on a 17-year journey around theworld, beginning with the watershed moment at the United NationsFourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, whenthen–First ...

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"We must proclaim to the world, clearly and as one, that thesewomen are heroes, their work is valuable, and their voices arevital."
From the Foreword by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Vital Voices shares the unforgettable triumphs andstruggles of women who are changing our world. In this powerfulaccount, Alyse Nelson takes us on a 17-year journey around theworld, beginning with the watershed moment at the United NationsFourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, whenthen–First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton boldly proclaimed forthe first time to the world that "women's rights are human rights."From there a United States government initiative was founded on thebelief that when women progress, whole societies move forward.Since then, Vital Voices has grown into a global movement thattoday transcends national, cultural, economic, and politicaldivides.

From the mothers of Northern Ireland who came together to endviolence, to entrepreneurs creating economic opportunity in Haiti,Vital Voices shares a transformative model of leadershiptaking hold around the world. With the story of Vital Voices,Nelson offers compelling accounts of brave, visionary women willingto risk everything to improve the lives of those around them.

Featuring first-person accounts from former President of ChileMichelle Bachelet, Nigerian Minister of Finance Dr. NgoziOkonjo-Iweala, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison,Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer,designer Diane von Furstenberg, and actor Sally Field, Vital Voicesbrings together leaders who boldly redefine the concept of power intheir pursuit of a better world.

Their voices and vision for progress—shared here for thefirst time—are deeply authentic and essential reading foranyone looking to make a difference in our world.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

For 15 years, the Vital Voices Global Partnership has been working with women leaders for economic empowerment, political participation, and human rights. Over the years, this non-profit, non-government organization has inspired and gathered countless stories of the efforts and achievements of women around the world. This collection edited by Vital Voices CEO Alyse Nelson contains interviews and first-person accounts of female leaders, pro-democracy activists, and private business advocates. Vital Voices carries a foreword by the group's co-founder and chairman, Hilary Clinton.

Publishers Weekly
Nelson, president and CEO of the nongovernmental organization Vital Voices, is an impassioned advocate of women and their leadership potential. Women, she proudly notes, are “stepping up as leaders in times of crisis, financial, humanitarian or otherwise,” doing 60% of the world’s work, and constituting a majority of the workforce in the U.S. However, the majority of the world’s women cannot legally own, control, or inherit property, land, or wealth. Clearly there’s work yet to be done. To that end, Nelson profiles leaders who are working to improve the lives of women across the world, in such disparate countries as Russia, Nigeria, Somalia, Israel, , Morocco, and Brazil. Though many of these activists will be unknown to readers, celebrity supporters such as Vital Voices founder Hillary Rodham Clinton and Diane von Furstenberg, and stories of women working to combat sex trafficking, domestic violence, and poverty are sobering and inspiring. However, the lack of any further unifying element leaves the book feeling more like a brochure, and suggests that it will not find much of an audience outside of fund-raising events. (June)
From the Publisher
#8 Washington Post Best Seller(Hardcover Nonfiction)

“In this compelling new book, Alyse Nelson shares thestories of the remarkable women who have motivated her work atVital Voices. For anyone who wants our world to live up to thepromises of the twenty-first century, look no further than thesedetermined agents of change for blueprints on courageousleadership.”
—Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States

“This timely book tells the story of a movement that istransforming our world and of an organization—VitalVoices—is clearing the path. Its message is about morethan equality, it's about leadership, justice, and hearing thosewho in prior generations possessed only a single right—toremain silent. If you are looking for inspiration about whatis possible, and for a challenge about what is still necessary,here is your guide.”
—Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State

“I have been humbled and inspired throughout my life bythe determination of African women and women in other parts of thedeveloping world who are committed to bettering their families andtheir communities. The power and possibility of women's leadershipare captured in this book's innovative model. There has never beena more fitting time for the world to embrace a new brand ofleadership by embracing the power and possibility of womenworldwide.”
—H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and 2011Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

“From the poorest villages to the highest governmentoffices, women are leading the way in tackling humanity's biggestchallenges. Alyse Nelson's Vital Voices imagines what'spossible if we can fully tap the unique leadership potential of allwomen and girls. This book is essential reading for anyoneinterested in building a better world.”
—Melinda French Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda GatesFoundation

“Over the next 25 years, nothing will do more to build amore peaceful, more prosperous, and more sustainable world than theempowerment of women and girls. As an innovative and collaborativeleader, Vital Voices is making a profound and lasting differencefor the better, as the stories in this book clearlydemonstrate.”
—Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO, The Coca-ColaCompany

“This powerful book tells the story of a pioneeringorganization and shows us what is possible when we invest intransformational leaders—from dissidents to entrepreneurs,these women motivate us and change lives.”
—Tina Brown,editor-in-chief, Newsweek and The DailyBeast

Vital Voices is a vital read. The world ischanging and in the places where the most progress is happening,women are leading the charge. Alyse Nelson empirically states thecase that when women are given opportunities, they seize them andignite positive changes in their communities and even theircountries. At a time of such universal economic uncertainty,investing in women can make all of the difference.”
—Lisa Ling, executive producer and host, OurAmerica

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118184776
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 410,639
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alyse Nelson is president and chief executive officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership. A co-founder of Vital Voices, Alyse has worked with women leaders since 1996 to develop mentoring and training programs in over 140 countries and has interviewed more than 200 international leaders. She completed her graduate degree work at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and she lives in Washington, D.C.

Vital Voices Global Partnership, founded by Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the leading nongovernmental organization that identifies, trains, and invests in emerging women leaders, enabling them to create a better world for us all. Learn more at

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Table of Contents

FOREWORD BY the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Founder, Vital Voices ix



Introduced by the Honorable Michelle Bachelet


Introduced by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala


Introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison


Introduced by Diane von Furstenberg


Introduced by Ambassador Melanne Verveer


Introduced by Sally Field


by Susan Ann Davis and Bobbie Greene McCarthy, Chair and Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, Vital Voices additional information on the women featured in vital voices 225

notes 239

acknowledgments 251

about the author 263

index 265

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 11, 2014

    Vital Voices

    Enjoyed reading this book. I found the stories about the women very inspiring and uplifting. I liked that there was a photo of each woman and great variety; many different countries. It is a book you can put down and come back later to read. You can definitely agree that all individuals can make a difference.

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