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Four Women in Politics to Watch in 2017

By Carlos Micames

In the political stage, many dominant female figures have decorated the arena and overcome countless obstacles to form their everlasting legacy; women such as Margaret Thatcher (the former Primer Minister of UK), Madeleine Albright (first female Secretary of State), and Golda Meir (former Prime Minister of Israel). Although most people don’t associate women as powerful heads of states, they have been constantly breaking barriers. Here are four women to watch this year:

1. Jenniffer González, Resident Commissioner (R-PR)

In 2016, Jennifer González was elected as the first female Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico, the delegate chosen to represent the island in the United States Congress. She obtained her Law Degree at the Interamerican University Puerto Rico School of Law. She was the first female elected representative of San Juan’s Fourth District, the youngest member of the 14th Legislative Assembly, and the youngest woman ever to be elected to the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly at 25 years of age. As President of the House of Representatives from 2009-2013, González collaborated on legislation facilitating services to special needs and autistic children, reducing energy costs for businesses, public security, environmental protections, and tax reform. González is also a strong advocate for Statehood, currently applying pressure on Congress to take a decision on Puerto Rico’s status. In her words, her goal is “to be the last Resident Commissioner.”

2. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Leading the charge is Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of the most powerful country in Europe, Germany. She was declared Germany’s first female chancellor in 2005, the first former citizen of the German Democratic Republic to lead the reunited Germany, and the first woman to lead Germany since it became a modern nation-state in 1871. She was elected to a second term in 2009 . In 2007, she was named President of the European Council and became the second woman to head the G8. She played a major role in managing the financial crisis at the European and national level, making Germany the strongest economy in Europe. Merkel was also named 2015’s Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Under her administration, Germany has been influential in many transatlantic economic treaties, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and accepted millions of refugees from Syria and war stricken countries in the Middle East. Angela Merkel is the face of Europe today and is, arguably, the most powerful woman in the world today.

3. Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK

When Great Britain shocked the world by voting to secede from the European Union, chaos immediately followed when Prime Minister David Cameron stepped down and Theresa May was chosen as the new Prime Minister to lead Great Britain through the secession process. She is also the second female Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher, who presided the UK from 1979 to 1990. She is well known for her work on police reform, strict drug policies, and strict immigration policies during her tenure as Home Secretary in 2010. Due to the insecurity of Europe following the chaos of Brexit, it will be important to watch
Great Britain, and Theresa May at the helm, as it takes the necessary steps to achieve its goal.

4. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

Tammy Duckworth is the first Asian-American congresswoman for Illinois and the first disabled female veteran to take a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2016, she became a U.S. Senator Corps with the Illinois Army National Guard. Trained as a Blackhawk pilot, in 2004 Duckworth left NIU when she was deployed to Iraq. In Iraq, Duckworth flew Operation Iraqi Freedom combat missions until her helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in the autumn of 2004. The explosion took both of Duckworth’s legs and robbed her of full function in her right arm. . Following the injury, she was promoted to major and awarded the Purple Heart.

Duckworth is a vocal activist in promoting better medical care for veterans. Initiating programs that provide veterans and their families with better mental support, health care, and housing resources while also working toward developing an incentive program that would give employers a tax credit for hiring war veterans. In 2016, she successfully ran for a U.S. Senate seat against incumbent Mark S. Kirk. Our veterans are incredible, brave people who risk their lives for our freedom and the least that we should offer them is decent medical care and opportunities when they arrive. Tammy Duckworth’s fight for veterans is inspiring and an example for all politicians to follow.


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