Member of Parliament in South Africa
"I was very young when we got married and I was not even politically mature, so the path along which I have travelled was not an easy one. And I found it very, very difficult at first to deputise for the man I had hardly lived with, whose ideals were as great as they were ... a man who was regarded as the people's leader - and I had to fumble my way along."
Winnie Mandela 1986
Member of European Parliament
"If you think of politics like any other job, don't do it, try another job, because it is too little rewarding, quite often frustrating and really too demanding. But if you feel in yourself that it is a passion for you, that you really want to change something for society, do it, be aware that it is really tough but do it if you feel that it is a passion."
Aung San Suu Kyi
General Secretary & Founder of NLD
"I don't know that it is my destiny to lead but it's my destiny to serve the people my father had no chance of serving to the end."
Member of the European Parliament
for South Wales
"I'm in middle age, in my 50s and I've had another chance - there is life after 50… I'm a middle aged grandmother role model for women, that you don't have to think 'I've had my career and I'm going to retire' because I've started a completely new life. And I have to say I've probably got just as much energy if not more than the majority of the younger ones."
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan
"As a woman leader, I thought I brought a different kind of leadership. I was interested in women's issues, in bringing down the population growth rate ... as a woman I entered politics with an additional dimension, that of a mother."
Former Prime Minister
of Great Britain
"A great deal I think on the future of women
at the top will depend on how I do... I do know I could do an awful lot for
women at the top and for women trying to get to the top and for the acceptance
of women, for their talents and abilities."
(Margaret Thatcher in 1979)
United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights
"I want to be President for all the people
because I was elected by men and women of all parties and none, by many with
great moral courage who stepped out from the faded flags of the civil war and
voted for a new Ireland and above all by the women of Ireland... who instead of rocking the cradle rocked the system..."
President of Sri Lanka
"Where there is a dedicated, honest and sincere woman somewhere at the top she can bring in a much more human touch and a much more practical approach to problems and that's very important in politics."
former spokeswoman for Palestine Liberation Organisation
"I think I have made a difference in many ways but not as much as I would like to. I feel I have challenged the prevailing wisdom, I have challenged the ideas, the labels, the stereotypes that govern the way the world looked at us. I have tried to provide ... a human approach to the way in which Palestinians are seen throughout the world."
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Director General of World Health Organisation
"I don't think you can be a leader without being forceful. If you don't have a determination, if you don't have a perspective and a direction in your mind about what is your vision, then you are not a leader."
Minister for the Cabinet Office, United Kingdom
"All I can do is bring people together, all I can do is create a situation to encourage people to work together, and in the end it's the people of Northern Ireland and the leaders of the political parties that will make the decisions, but I can create the parameters to help achieve that."
Dr Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam on her first day as Northern Ireland Secretary
What does it take for a woman to succeed in world politics? Despite the progress
made in the last century, there are still few women leaders.
Hear these eleven women talk about how they achieved success.
Find out what motivates them and how they overcame the barriers they faced.
Can women have it all? Using exclusive material from recent interviews and the BBC archive, follow these profiles to discover what it takes.