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About the Book

Wings. All women come into this world with the potential to grow them. Some let prejudice, discrimination, manipulation, or the expectation of others thwart their development. But some draw on an iron inner strength to unfold their potential and transform themselves. And the world.

Iron Butterflies deploy the power of feminine skills: their holistic view of the world, their relational intelligence, their tendencies toward collaboration and inclusion, their capacity to empathize. The very qualities that once sidelined women from the mainstream now empower them into the center of the current where they can exert leadership and affect change.

A key to personal and social transformation is to see vulnerabilities in a different light. Like chrysalises, vulnerabilities hold the promise of new possibilities and new strengths. Iron Butterflies have all suffered injustices and inequities, but refusing to let these unsettling experiences turn them into victims, they used them, instead, to grow, gain strength and embark on new flight paths to success. Their wings may consist of gossamer threads, but their hearts beat with drums of iron.

In this book readers will watch countless women grow strong wings without compromising their womanhood. Iron Butterflies tells the stories of a diverse group of women, whose accomplishments illustrate overarching themes so critical to women’s lives and to our times. They come from an astonishing range of experience, from all races, from every corner of the world—US, Canada, England, Italy, Australia, Cuba, Colombia, Israel, Lebanon, Iraq—and from all walks of life including doctors, artists, a federal judge, a prize winning novelist, businesswomen, a Congresswoman, educators, nurses, a winemaker, a priest, CEO’s, housewives, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a governor. Their lives validate women’s experience and embolden them to follow the examples of women who have transformed themselves and their world. An easy task? Not at all. Even the most successful women struggle as we all do, but by looking at situations through the powerful lens of vulnerability, they find the opportunity and the courage to think and act in concert with their truest nature.

Through their personal stories of individual and global achievement, women will see how they, too, can unfold their wings and join the kaleidoscope of Iron Butterflies that are gathering and transforming our world; and men will learn that everyone wins if males encourage the women they love to join the flight.

This book suggests that we have arrived at a tipping point. We either evolve or devolve. We either raise our consciousness to affirm our interconnectedness as humans on this earth, or we lower ourselves and our community into greater chaos and alienation. Much as any stakeholder in this enterprise, women will alter the outcome. Will they effect a positive transformation? Will they bring their full power to bear in their own lives and the lives of their spouses, their families, their communities and the world? Iron Butterflies show them they can. But, as with every long journey that begins with one step at a time. This one begins with one Iron Butterfly at a time. One empowers ten, ten empower a hundred. Pretty soon you have millions empowering millions. With this, a kaleidoscope of Iron Butterflies ushers in a new era of women, where collaboration and competition, masculine and feminine, seemingly paradoxical experiences, co-exist.

Listen to Birute talk about her book in an interview with Dr. Nancy O’Reilly of Women Speak.

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College-level collections strong in social issues and women’s studies will relish this.
—Midwest Book Review
Iron Butterflies gives us a handle on what each of us can do to make a difference by leading differently. It gives us hope for the future.
—Lisa Kimball, executive producer of Group Jazz, Washington DC
Iron Butterflies is masterfully written. Birute’s work teaches us about courage and hope by telling stories of women struggling and, despite obstacles, triumphant in the end. Iron Butterflies speaks to that desire in each and everyone of us to contribute at the deepest level and to connect to something bigger than yourself. The book leaves you with a great sense of hope and peace.”
—Linda Rusch, Vice President of Nursing, Hunterdon Medical Center, NJ
Birute’s book looks at a different style of leadership that women play in in the business game. It is an important first step toward changing the world as we know it and should be required reading for young women just starting out.
—Linda Goodwin, former director of retail investments, Fleet Bank, Boston
“What an amazing piece of work! The research Birute has done and the way she brought it together creates a powerful and IMPORTANT piece of work that is much needed!
—Angela Farmer, Master yoga teacher, Greece.
“I was literally shaking with excitement when I read Birute’s beautiful, inspiring book. It has such interesting and wonderful women; I’m honored to be included.
—Ricky Burges, CEO Western Australian Local Government Association