Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World
Hon. Linda Tarr-Whalen, Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow,
Former Ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status of Women
Academy for Educational Development

Washington, DC—On October 5th, Hon. Linda Tarr-Whelan addressed a sold-out audience of WFPG members and guests in an Author Series event about her book Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World. Tarr-Whelan brought her experience serving as Ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in the Clinton Administration and as Deputy Assistant for Women’s Concerns to President Jimmy Carter in the Carter White House to the book, as well as her experience at the Center for Policy Alternatives.

Looking at the financial crisis, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof asked, “Would we be in the same mess if Lehman Brothers was Lehman Brothers and Sisters?” and Tarr-Whelan’s response was, “Probably not.” Tarr-Whelan also argued that if Rwanda had balanced leadership, they might never have descended into 1994’s genocide, pointing out that its recent transformation can be attributed to the fact that it now has a majority of women leaders.

In her talk, Tarr-Whelan discussed her “30% Solution,” which advocates for truly balanced leadership, with women holding at least 30% of the seats at any power table, in order to keep the focus on the agenda instead of gender. She recognizes this as the point of critical mass where women’s voices resonate enough to contribute women’s experiences and values in decision-making. 

Following the book presentation, a lively discussion with audience members including an interaction with Croatian Ambassador Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic discussing Croatia’s strides with women in leadership, and her experiences with women’s comparative lack of ambition, compared with men. In response, Tarr-Whelan told the story of an interaction with former UN Kofi Annan, who offered a senior post to a woman, who replied that she would have to think about it, consult her family, and get back to him in a week or so, and Annan was perturbed because when he offered the job to a man, the man’s response was, “Thank you, sir.” Tarr-Whelan is currently a Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow, advises top officials in the US and Europe on the role of women and promotes the idea that women in leadership is good business and smart politics.


Author Linda Tarr-Whalen

WFPG Board Treasurer and event moderator Dawn Calabia and Tarr-Whalen



Croatian Ambassador Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic