We dont waste time from left, Shazia Mirza, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Marjane Satrapi, Harriet Harman, Jane Goodall and Sarah Sands.
I dont think anything would change
Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis
I dont think anything would change if women had the power. For me, this comes from the idea that men and women are very alike and very equal. I dont think the notion of empathy or being nice depends ongender at all, because if you consider women to be so much nicer, in a way thats to say theyre like nice little animals that cant get angry, and that anger is something for men.
I dont think women write differently from men, or make movies differently. When it comes to physical effort, there is a difference. But when it comes to intellect, people with the same experiences and same sensitivities end up being the same kind of people, regardless of gender.
I am impressed by young womens energy and competence
Penelope Lively, Booker-winning novelist
At 84, I want to celebrate a new generation of women. I have three granddaughters in their 20s, so I meet up with and hear about plenty of young women in that age group. I am constantly impressed by, and rejoice in, their energy and competence. They work their socks off, and assume working life will reward them, but they are flexible and adaptable.
Their assumptions about the role of women, about what women can expect, are very different from those of my generation, from back in the 1950s. We would have been startled to look ahead and see Theresa May and Angela Merkel. The outlook and the performance of todays twentysomething women is heartwarming.
I can think of some vicious, cruel women who have been in power
Dr Jane Goodall, primatologist
I thought about this and the answer is I dont know. It depends which female qualities were talking about, because sometimes one finds that the women who become successful are the ones who develop male-type characteristics. If you could pick women with more compassionate characteristics, then there are men with those characteristics too.
I know its tempting to say that it would be better if more women were doing this and more women were doing that. But I believe power corrupts absolutely. We can think of some extraordinarily vicious, brutal and cruel women who have been in great powerful positions. To me, it just wouldnt make much difference.
All my life experience tells me women make a difference
Frances OGrady, general secretary, Trades Union Congress
Unlike the popular old song, I cant promise that, if women ruled the world, every day would be like the first day of spring. From Margaret Thatcher to Marine Le Pen, womens leadership is no guarantee of kindness or compassion. More women in the boardroom has to be right but, with zero-hours contracts on the up and more real wage cuts in the pipeline, theres scant evidence of benefits trickling down to the shop floor.
And yet. All my life experience tells me that women do make a difference. In the trade union movement, women leaders have exposed the scandal of sexual harassment, campaigned for equal pay, and made caring responsibilities a workplace bargaining issue. As a result, the lives of millions of women and men have changed for the better.
And I like working with other women. Being the only woman in a meeting room full of men, however lovely they are, can feel lonely. Whereas watching other women leaders in action inspires, encourages and strengthens me. As a wise woman once told me, the problem is that women tend to underestimate their abilities whereas too many men overestimate theirs. A false sense of superiority based on gender, race or class is no way to run a cornershop, let alone the country.
There will be no sexual assault, no catcalling, no mansplaining
Sofie Hagen, comedian
First of all, free tampons, legal abortion everywhere, and actual jail sentences given to 100% of rapists instead of the 5% we see today. And hopefully, with the right head-bitch in charge, there would be some kind of limit to how much a man was allowed to interrupt and mansplain.
I imagine we would call it the Law of Sschhh: if a woman says sschhh to a man, he is bound by law to go home and sit down and shut up. Soon, there will be no sexual assault, no catcalling, no mansplaining, no #notallmen.
We would of course have a list of Dudes Who Are All Right, who would get to suggest laws every once in awhile. Justin Trudeau, Jeremy Corbyn, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sadiq Khan, Channing Tatum. But theyd have to work topless. Its just the law.
Women tend to make more holistic decisions
Maria Balshaw, director of Tate
Women ask questions from a different perspective, which may be because weve been mothers, daughters or sisters. Ive never been a separatist. Im an inclusive feminist, but there is really interesting research that shows women tend to make more holistic decisions and I think thats because the burden of feeding and raising children and looking after the domestic environment falls mostly to them.
Women running the world is neither a utopian nor a dystopian scenario. It really depends on the political thinking that is brought to bear. As women age, our power changes very differently to the way male power changes. As the female leader of a national art museum, I am still highly unusual globally.
It would change the presumption theres someone at home to sort out all the problems
Athene Donald, physicist
Women ruling the world might change the structure of work because, currently, certainly in the developed world, it is the presumption that there is someone back at home to sort out all the problems so its OK to have MPs debating at midnight, and people being sent on to far-flung parts of the world. Our way of working might change if people realised there isnt necessarily someone at home to pick up the pieces.
Its about making men and women equally able to succeed
Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money
I dont think I would like a world ruled by women, if Im honest, any more than I would like a world ruled by men. For me, it is about equality. I would much prefer a world that is properly balanced, in terms of the contributions men and women make to society. Its not about making women the leaders its about making men and women equally able to succeed as leaders. Only 40% of senior roles in financial services are held by women. We definitely need to get closer to 50% to get financial services to a place where theyre going to thrive in a balanced way.
Women ensure sustainability for future generations
Dr Alaa Murabit, UN High-Level Commissioner
I believe that women make more pragmatic decisions and are forward-thinking. They ensure sustainability for future generations. Women at the table will invest heavily in better education, affordable healthcare and access to clean water. Womens empowerment will produce collateral benefits: LGBTQ rights, indigenous peoples rights, childrens rights, religious freedom. Family-friendly policies will be formulated to enable both parents to enjoy the privileges of parenting. Unfair stereotypes and standards imposed upon men to ensure they fit into an iron scaffold of masculinity will be lifted.
I hope to see a world with greater peace and diplomacy, collaboration and cooperation. Women are less likely engage in wars or violence as the protection of families and communities is central to their decision-making. They propel their countries and the world towards socioeconomic success. And they work to promote social justice and inclusion, climate change management and reduced hunger, poverty and inequality.
There are still so many meetings where women are not even in the room
Harriet Harman MP
Its not about leaders and role models. Its about sisterhood and working together. If we only had women MPs, right now Labour would be in government with a huge majority because weve got 119 and the Tories have only got 67. Thats a good reason to have only women MPs.
But what you really want is a balanced team of women and men. There are still so many meetings where women are not even in the room. Although Donald Trump feels like a threat to turn the clock back, I think there is an irresistible force for further change all around the world.