My Idols – Female Leaders Around the World (Part-1) : The Iron Lady of Israel

There have always been female rulers on earth. Even since 3000BCE, Egyptians Queens ruled the Egypt. Each of the world’s country has at least one woman leader. queenThese leaders inspire me in a way that was shown in the articles. Most of the leaders who are going to describe here will be those who had passed away many years ago.

“Being Seventy is not a sin”. Golda Meir, seventy-year-old lady who had been an Israel pioneer leader, despite of her age argued that it doesn’t mean that old people can’t do well in politics. Older people have more consideration on what should be done.

Woman like Golda is rarely found in the world. Golda Meir is one of the founders in building new land of Jewish, Israel, equally likely with the men although she was just a normal teacher and didn’t have very impressive education background. Once the Israel was established, again Golda Meir had to participate in struggling within the Arabs countries. Golda Meir’s soul and sprit upon her country and nation was so impressive.Just like most women leaders, she scarified most of her time for country. Scarifying time means both personal time and family time. She was known to be a dutiful person in spite of her bad health condition.

ImageGolda Meir is someone who is as soft as silk if it concerns with personal or concerns with persuasion of people towards her goal. However, she is as strong as an iron in dealing with political problems and who can convince her idea into public very well. She had been the Minister of Labor Union who had built a lot of homes for the people of Israel and made remarkable contribution in transportation. As a foreign minister, she had found many friends for Israel especially from Africa, Denmark, Sweden and Myanmar. She was famous for protecting her country, Israel, as a very good lawyer on the stage of United Nations. Lastly, even in her retired time, she had to accept the heavy responsibility as a Prime Minister again.

Unlike the other women leaders like Indira Gandhi, she was not born from high class family, or educated family, or rich family. Her life was so severe as she went along. She did everything she believed on her own hands. Actually, she was the one who born with the earth rather than heaven.

Golda Meir’s ancestors were Jewish who were born in Soviet. However, the Soviet treated the Jewish as the second class citizens so that they were placed in the second class in politics, education and businesses. America and Israel are the new major centers of the Jewish and Europe was decimated of its Jewish population. Surprisingly, almost all the prior leaders that gave-birth the Israel, including Golda, were born in Soviet. (online avaliable at:(http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/world-jewish-population.htm))

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Just like the leader of Israel, Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir was born in Soviet. Her father, is a carpenter whose work was consistently under appreciated. Although her father is one of the carpenters who figured out the very first refrigerator, their family financial situation was completely a crisis. The very first years of Golda in her home town was full of terrible hardships that her family suffered, with poverty, cold hunger in fear (Golda Meir, My Life, 1975)

When she was about five, her father went to America, where the Jews called “the land of gold” and made his fortune there. Her mother, elder sister, younger sister and Golda, herself have to wait their father’s calling back. Actually, Golda had not only sisters but also brothers. Her four little boys fell ill while they are facing hardships in Kiev. Two of them died before they were a year old and two of them died within one month.

Golda Meir (My Life, 1975) states her life in hometown that “I suppose my recollection of being frightened is the clearest of all my memories.” There was a program to descend on Jews. The Jews-hater rabble that used to surge through towns brandishing knives and huge sticks, screaming “Christ Killers” as they looked for the Jews. Her father tried to barricade the entrance with boards of wood. Being a Jewish made Golda to be different from other children and the feelings of fear, discontentment  and responsiveness of being different and the belief that one have to make effective action personally if he or she wanted to survive, had been grown.During the establishing time of Israel, Golda convinced that these frightened experiences were the foundation of her willingness towards her vision in politics.

Golda Meir seemed as symbol of strength and authority. While she went to US to ask for Authoritytheir support of weapons during war period, President Nixon couldn’t resist her. He stated that “I remember so well when we sat down in the chairs and the photographers came in… and we were shaking hands and she was smiling and making the right friendly comments. Then, when the photographers left the room, she crossed her legs, lit a cigarette and said, ‘ Now, Mr. President, What are you going to do about those planes that we want and we need very much’….” Nixon seemed Golda as a man since then. (Burkett, The Iron Lady of Middle East, 2008)Golda and US President

There were several leadership abilities that I would found in Golda. These abilities are:

  • Servant Leadership (Golda was a good follower before she became a leader and I think this nourish her servant leadership)
  • Task-Oriented (If you read more details on her political actions, you will know that she has less concern in process implementation than the ideas)
  • Advocate Management (At that time, Israel’s political solutions were said to be coming from what they called “Golda’s Kitchen” rather than official cabinets. I found pros and cons for this. As Golda mainly discussed issues in person with one or two people unofficially, they can discuss in details for those information which should not be distribute to many people. However, this style had made Golda to bypass the second partner.)
  • Knowing the People (She had used them and knew their value. She never gave orders. The things she gave were just guidelines and requests which show her great deal of leadership.)

Golda Meir had to scarify her status as a housewife for Israel. She divorced with her husband, Morris. She got the genies of optimistic from her mother and that of stubborn from her father, again, political sprit from her elder sister, Sheyna. Some knowledge, she got from her husband, Morris. Golda said that she was so lucky because each and every of her relatives and friends in her life gave her something for her life.

The great Golda was not heritage by the male leader, for example : Indria Gandhi was heritage political aspect from her father. Golda Meir is not the one who is pretty because of her diamond earrings. She, herself, is the diamond. She was born to be a leader and then trained to be good.

As for my recommendation, Golda Meir is not a woman leader. She is the leader whose gender is woman.

At a Glance of Myanmar current situation for International Education Providers

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Myanmar, which is known as the Golden Land, had been under Military regime for many years. In March 2011, former SPDC Prime Minister, U Thein Sein became president. Since then the country has started their movement of reformation by meeting the major opposition leader, Daw Aung Sann Su Kyi. The international community has recognized the progress in the country by easing the sanctions on the country as most have seen as opportunity.

As for general economic condition, Myanmar was left behind the other Asian countries after many years of stagnation in economy. Myanmar which is strategically located at the heart of Asia, near the Asia’s biggest markets, India and China, compared to those of others Asian countries like Thailand, China, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Philippines, it has the lowest per capital GDP.

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According to Economist Intelligence Unit; The Conference Board Total Economy Database; McKinsey Global Institute analysis, Myanmar’s per capita GDP in 2010 is said to be 0.8 ($ thousand) while the neighboring country, Thailand is said to be 4.8 ($ thousand). The major cause of this low GDP is labor productivity.  Myanmar is a country that has about the same population as Thailand but its lack of remarkable improvement in labor productivity has led to low GDP. According to McKinsey Global Institute (June 2013), a worker in Myanmar adds only $1,500 of economic value in year of work which is 70% less than other Asian countries.

Nowadays, 35% of the global population belong the consuming class of people with incomes of more than $10 a day who can spend money on discretionary goods and services as well as basic necessities. (McKinsey Institute, June 2013) This 35% in general is 2.5 billion people and 40% of this which is one billion lives in Asia, while only 4% of this one billion is Myanmar. (McKinsey Institute, June 2013)

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The current economical situation may be a bad news for international education providers of greater value services. However, Myanmar people’s willingness to gain international education standard has been growing since long ago. Parents are willing to invest in their children’s international education. They take education as investment and this seems to be a real risky investment for some Myanmar families because it can end up with debts for the other family members. Therefore, the children, themselves are very hard working and always look forwards to their further self-improvement. The families who take risk might think that something that doesn’t break them will make them grow stronger. Based on what I have known from talking to fellow Myanmar citizens, compared to Myanmar students who are studying abroad at Primary or Secondary levels of education, tertiary level students form a much larger percentage.

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Currently, President Thein Sein has introduced National Comprehensive Development Plan (NCDP), 20-year plan for reformation. However, in order to achieve this long term goal, the country in turn, has short term ones like FESR (Framework for Economic and Social Reform) which outlines priorities up to 2015. One of the goals of this includes achieving average GDP growth of 7.7%. So, this should be the good news for all the globalization companies including international education providers who have interest on Myanmar market.

According to the survey conducted by British Council Exams Services in March 2008, out of the 1,285 candidates who sat for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) from April to December 2007, 37.2 per cent of them were Singapore bound while 33.2 per cent headed for Australia and New Zealand (British Council, 2008). “At the end of the upper secondary level (grade 11), students sit for the matriculation examination to enter the tertiary level” (British Council, 2008). The education system is based on the UK’s system the British colonized Myanmar for about one century.

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Today, most of the Myanmar students are studying business related subjects. Compared to those of the elder generation, many young generations of Myanmar choose to do business as their professional career in the hope that their country might develop as others. This is because of the developing state of Myanmar’s Economy seen with their eyes. In old times, most of the parents in Myanmar want their children to be doctors as the only choice to show that their children are hard-working.  From what I am aware, most of the students studied engineering related subjects in abroad. In recent years however, another field, Business related subjects, has been chosen as a preferred course. Parents start to accept the business related subjects as career-defining subjects in the hope that there will be much more opportunities in the country after reformation of open market economy.

Now, we have to keep an eye on what will really happen next.Image