Benazir Bhutto: A First Woman Head of State

Islamic countries always represent a ‘benchmark’ of male dominance in all spheres of life. Even in today’s realities, the vast majority of the Islamic governments indirectly restrict women from leading the country’s political life in any vector of development. Nevertheless, Benazir Bhutto illustrated that it was possible to become a woman in politics with significant electorate support long before any other woman, such as Margaret Thatcher, came into power. One of the most significant opportunities for Bhutto was the worldwide liberalization trend that enabled her to promote not only her presidency but also apply significant changes in excessively traditional and outdated laws. In fact, her election as the head of the state’s post provided an opportunity for Pakistan’s government to promote liberalistic economic and political reforms. These measures gave the impulse to the economy, and Pakistan significantly outperformed their competitors in the long-term perspective. Bhutto emphasized her ‘female’ role in politics since it was critical to demonstrate significant social shifts even before starting any reforms. When a woman represents the whole Islamic country, it is already evident that the population is ready for considerable changes in its traditions. As a result, it was much easier for Bhutto to liberalize the institutes of family and education so that people gained basic freedom of choice and an effective system of youth population development. Even though Pakistan was promoting a Western approach to political leadership, these modifications were implemented only to adjust the society to the new living trends. By augmenting life standards, Bhutto illustrated that it is possible for the ‘third-world’ country with the majority of the population that has access to basic and supplementary facilities, internal security, and even career perspectives.

However, during her political campaign, it was impossible to admit that Bhutto positioned herself as a feminist candidate. This is mainly due to the significant time misalignment of female rights development and actual society preferences. Moreover, even the most developed countries in the 1980s did not present any considerable support of the feminist movement, which is sometimes considered as the worst time for female rights support. In fact, Bhutto was an influential woman in politics from the very beginning of her career since her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was a successful prime minister of Pakistan. He effectively governed numerous changes in the country’s political perspective of the view until his death during the military revolution in 1979 (Shafqat, 2021). Based on this evidence, it might be stated that the most significant difficulty for Bhutto was to continuously struggle with Pakistan’s military junta, where the most physically powerful representatives desired to captivate the whole political and force resource. As the main consequence of Bhutto’s political governing, Pakistan has become a distinct country of the Islamic world with high living standards. This factor not only developed the country’s investment attractiveness but also made it more perceptible for Europeans and Americans who changed their consideration of South Asian countries.

Without significant support from western countries and the population, Bhutto would never have become the head of the government. Her first political steps were observed by the whole nation wince Bhutto was the only logical and democratic alternative to the military junta that established severe government regimes throughout the whole region. Even in today’s world, such countries as Myanmar or Afghanistan are experiencing the humanitarian crises caused by the military government of the country. Consequently, the most heroic and socially important factor of her governance was the fact that she represented the positive side in the struggle of two polar world visions: liberalistic woman and conservative militaristic junta. Moreover, for female politicians, she was a live example of how a simple woman might become more powerful in the country than the whole army if her political authority is based on trustworthiness and desire to develop her country. Bhutto also demonstrated that women might also be educated in the best universities in the world and use their knowledge in the political sphere. On this background, Margaret Thatcher has many intersections with Benazir Bhutto’s story of political success. By providing successful decisions and taking responsibility for her failures, she became a ‘workbook’ for female political leaders. Her competition has led the country to absolute economic and partially social success on the macro level. However, from an individual perspective, Benazir Bhutto experienced numerous internal crises, her family was eventually demoralized by political intrigues and attempts on life. She was killed by the military junta’s representative in 2007, but the results of her governing might be observed until these days when Pakistan is one of the most developed countries in Asia in terms of average individual’s life satisfaction.


Shafqat, S. (2021). Civil-military relations in Pakistan: From Zufikar Ali Bhutto to Benazir Bhutto (1st ed.). Routledge.

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DemoEssays. "Benazir Bhutto: A First Woman Head of State." January 4, 2023.