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6 Inspirational Women In Politics

Unfortunately, even in 2017, we still live in a patriarchal society. We live in a country where most aspects of our culture, including politics, are dominated by male voices and male faces. This can be disconcerting to any young hopeful woman who is considering a career in politics.

But never fear. I’ve drawn together a list of six powerful, inspiring, and influential female political role models who have gone above and beyond to show their strength and the need for women in the politics of today.

1. Angela Merkel

After 10 years in her position, the chancellor of Germany is still going strong, and, arguably, has transformed German politics since being voted into office in 2005. Aside from Merkel, the only other chancellor before her to have had such a strong standing after a similar time in office was Konrad Adenauer, a man no doubt.

During a time of financial crisis, where other European leaders have been finished off, Merkel seems to have blossomed. She fended off a long term recession in Germany by introducing economic stimulus packages and shortening working hours. As a result, Germany flourished during the global financial crisis.

Very soon after the Fukushima disaster, Merkel made it known that by 2022 all 17 of Germany’s nuclear reactors would be closed down, something other countries can only aspire to follow. This boosted Germany’s standing as a world-leader in energy reform in an effort to tackle global warming.

In my eyes, Merkel is one of the leading ladies of European politics, and an influential figure for not only women around the globe, but also to advocates of a reform to our global warming crisis. She is Germany’s first female political leader and famously left many men on her way to the top. Keep the good work up, Angela.

2. Michelle Obama

Undoubtedly, Michelle Obama is an inspiration to millions of people around the globe. Both a lawyer and a writer, Michelle was the First Lady of the 44th President Barack, both being the first African-Americans to take these roles in the United States. She has become a role model for women’s rights, an advocate for healthy families, higher education and international adolescent girls’ education. After a few years in a Chicago law firm, where she met her husband Barack Obama *swoons*, Michelle decided her true calling was working with people to serve their communities. She became the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps programme that prepares youth for public service.

In 2015, Michelle joined President Obama to launch Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government-wide initiative to help girls around the world go to school and stay in school. As part of this effort, Mrs. Obama is calling on countries across the globe to help educate and empower young women, and she is sharing the stories and struggles of these young women with young people in the United States to inspire them to commit to their own education.

In my eyes, it is impossible not to love a woman so devoted to her political career and to helping the minorities and the oppressed in society. We love you, Michelle.

3. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Born Ellen Johnson, the president of Liberia since 2006 was the first woman to be elected head of state of an African country. During the 1985 national election, she campaigned for a seat in the Senate and openly criticised the military government, which led to her arrest and a 10-year span in prison, however she was released a short time after. Johnson Sirleaf campaigned for election prior to 2006, in 1997, however finished second to Charles Taylor (a man, what a surprise).

In 2005 she ran again for president, showing her vast determination, and known as the “Iron Lady”, much like our somewhat beloved Margaret Thatcher (note the sarcasm), she beat football legend George Weah to win the presidential seat. In 2010, Johnson Sirleaf noted her intentions to run for presidency again, and won with 43% of the vote. During the time of presidential elections, she was also winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to further women’s rights. To this day, Johnson Sirleaf is still an influential leader of a troubled country.

4. Mhairi Black

Perhaps the second most famous woman to come out of the SNP, Mhairi Black is known as the Baby of the House, being the youngest MP elected into the House of Commons since 1832 at only 20 years old.

Black stood in the general election during her final year at Glasgow University, and graduated with a first-class honours degree in Politics and Public Policy. How did the girl do it through summative hell?

As an MP, Black has fought for pension rights and the rights of the LGBT+ community, describing herself as “never really being in”. She supports same-sex marriage and expressed this just before the same-sex marriage referendum in Ireland. Since 2015, Black has been appointed to the Work and Pensions Select Committee, a major feat for someone of such a young age. She has criticised government for their approach to unemployment, the growing need for food banks, and cuts to housing benefits.

Other SNP politicians love Black, calling her principled and passionate. I’m right alongside them; Black is an amazing role model for young women, especially in the U.K.

5. Aung San Suu Kyi

This woman deserves special mention. Officially known as State Counsellor, Ms Suu Kyi is widely seen as de facto leader of Myanmar – previously known as Burma. Between 1989 and 2010, Ms Suu Kyi spent most of her time in detention under house arrest, due to her efforts to bring democracy to then military-ruled Burma. This made her an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression. Cool right?

In 1991, Ms Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize, the first person to ever receive it whilst in detention. The committee chairman spoke of her as “an outstanding example of the power of the powerless”. She called on citizens around the world to “use your liberty to promote ours”. What a beautiful saying from a determined, powerful woman.

6. Nicola Sturgeon

Despite my mum’s best wishes – I know you think she talks waffle – this article had to mention the wonderfully inspirational woman that has taken the UK by storm, Nicola Sturgeon. The current First Minister of Scotland is also the leader of the SNP, the majority political group in Scotland. She is the first woman to hold either position, let alone both.

Sturgeon has fought against replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system, something I strongly agree with. She frequently criticises austerity in the U.K. Most importantly, Sturgeon is an out-and-out feminist, actively campaigning for women’s rights and gender equality, a continuing fight for our society.

Until Theresa May, she was hailed as the most powerful woman in the United Kingdom. What an incredible role model for women of all ages, for a strong woman to take leadership of a country and still fight for what they believe in. Theresa May, you could do well to listen to her once in a while.

 

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