Book Review: ‘She, The Leader’ by Nidhi Sharma

Empowering Voices: Women Leaders Reshaping Indian Politics


Book Title: She, The Leader: Women in Indian Politics
Author: Nidhi Sharma
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Number of Pages: 392
ISBN: 978-9393852816
Date Published: Aug. 05, 2023
Price: INR 723

She, The Leader by Nidhi Sharma Book Cover

Book Review

In Indian politics, the idea of women venturing into this domain remains an unconventional choice. This perspective’s impact is evident in the current composition of the seventeenth Lok Sabha (2019–24), where a mere eighty-one women members of parliament are present, making up only 15 percent of the Lok Sabha’s total strength. Despite this numerical constraint, these women leaders have introduced a unique perspective into policy formulation in India, inspiring younger women to step forward as the upcoming generation of trailblazing political figures.

Nidhi Sharma’s book “She, the Leader: Women in Indian Politics” intricately paints the stories of seventeen pioneering women politicians who challenged social disparities and patriarchal conventions to carve their distinct political paths within the national discourse.

This book’s Author, Nidhi Sharma, is a journalist and political analyst affiliated with the political bureau of the Economic Times. She brings twenty-five years of experience covering politics and governance in New Delhi for esteemed newspapers like The Pioneer, Times of India, and Asian Age. As a World Press Institute fellow, she covered the 2008 US presidential election and extensively reported on significant political developments in state and parliamentary elections across India. Her base is in New Delhi, where she resides with her family.

She, the Leader: Women in Indian Politics” by Nidhi Sharma casts a spotlight on the extraordinary journeys of seventeen women politicians who defied odds, challenged societal norms, and left an indelible mark on Indian politics. In a landscape where women’s involvement in politics remains unconventional, this book is a tribute to these exceptional leaders’ resilience, determination, and strength.

The book explores the achievements of women leaders in India, starting with “The Pioneers,” which highlights Indira Gandhi and Sucheta Kriplani. It then moves to “The Inheritors,” which focuses on women who took on political roles inherited from male family members or mentors. The “Lone Warriors” section showcases women like Pratibha Patil, Sushma Swaraj, Mamata Banerjee, Brinda Karat, and Ambika Soni, who embraced politics despite lacking political lineage. The final section, “The Future Leaders”, introduces emerging women leaders like Smriti Z. Irani, Supriya Sule, Kavitha Kalvakuntla, Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, and Ampareen Lyngdoh.

Nidhi Sharma’s thorough research and narrative finesse provide readers with insights into these women leaders’ personal and political lives. The book unveils the layers of their public personas, exposing the challenges they confronted, their sacrifices, and the determination that propelled their journeys. “She, the Leader” isn’t just a collection of biographies; it encapsulates the broader societal and political context that shaped these women’s trajectories. It paints a vivid picture of the intricate blend of power, strategy, and emotion that underpins Indian politics.

The book emerges as a valuable addition to India’s political biography landscape. It offers readers an insider’s view, shedding light on untold stories, struggles, and triumphs of women who have significantly shaped the nation’s political narrative. In a world where women’s achievements are sometimes overlooked, “She, the Leader” rightfully acknowledges the substantial contributions of women politicians. Beyond political enthusiasts, the book pays homage to women’s empowerment and serves as a testament to the unyielding spirit of those who challenge societal norms to lead and inspire.

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Collectively, the profiles within “She, the Leader” cast a luminous spotlight on the outstanding contributions that women politicians have made to the vibrant tapestry of Indian politics.

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