In Nikki Haley’s new book, If You Want Something Done: Leadership Lessons from Bold Women, the former ambassador to the United Nations outlines what it means to be a strong woman in the modern world. Haley draws from historical examples of strong, tenacious women to show that feminism is “working hard and proving you deserve to be in the room,” juxtaposing that approach with the modern-day reliance on “victimhood.”
“Women fought for so long to have the freedom to make their own decisions,” but now, every thought and belief in their lives “are boxed in by a woke mob,” Haley writes in the book, which is being released on October 4.
This “hypocrisy is lost on liberals,” she adds.
To Haley, women like Margaret Thatcher, Israel’s former prime minister Golda Meir, Amelia Earhart, as well human rights advocate Cindy Warmbier, and civil-rights activist Claudette Colvin, among others, are prime examples of women who demonstrated vast reserves of resilience in standing by their goals and values, even when society wanted to silence them.
Human-rights activist Nadia Murad was kidnapped and sold into sex slavery by ISIS; Warmbier lost her son to the dictatorship of North Korea; Colvin was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person in a segregated bus. The first setback these women faced could have ended their drive — instead, they fought even harder and accomplished more in their lives than they ever could have envisioned.
The book intertwines the biographical stories of these women who didn’t take “no” for an answer with examples from her own life, including snippets from working in the U.N. under former president Donald Trump, to the challenges she faced while campaigning to be the first minority female governor of South Carolina.
At many points throughout her career, Haley says she was treated differently because of her gender and the color of her skin, and could have “thrown a tantrum and played the victim.” That victimhood mentality wouldn’t have gotten her anywhere.
Instead, Haley writes that she lives by her parents’ motto of, “don’t complain about it; do something about it.” To her, being a strong woman means realizing that sometimes, “life isn’t fair,” and having enough grit to change the false perceptions that people have about you, in order to make “our country better.”
Haley makes it a point to add that it doesn’t matter whether the women featured in the book are Republican or Democrat — what matter is that they “inspired her,” pushed through fear, and made “the most” out of their lives.
She writes “it’s time for us to reclaim feminism,” and she prays this book will be one of “bonding” for all women, regardless of their demographic.
She ends the book with a powerful message for women in the U.S.: “Let the profiles in this book serve as our motivation, inspiration and constant reminder. We are stronger than any label people give us. Our country is worth fighting for, and women will be the ones who save her.”