Women have emerged in politics like never before, giving a new face to governments around the world. From fresh faces like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Finland’s Sanna Marin to seasoned officials like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Queen Elizabeth II, these women are paving the way for young girls everywhere. These fierce females have also opened the door to more cultural diversity; Sonia Sotomayor was the first Latina to join the Supreme Court, and Ilhan Omar went from being a Somali refugee to representing Minnesota’s fifth congressional district. Read on for more women who put the “power” in “female empowerment.”
AOC Is The Youngest Woman Ever Elected To Congress
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC for short, was elected to Congress in 2019, serving as the Representative for New York’s 14th District. Politicians were shocked to see the then 29-year-old defeat 10-term New York Democrat incumbent Joe Crowley.
AOC is known for her strong delivery in speeches and debates and for co-authoring the Green New Deal, a proposal that responds to the climate crisis. Her responses to controversial issues have rattled politics and made AOC a prominent voice for Democratic Socialists.
Ivanka Trump Is Her Father’s Senior Advisor
Ivanka Trump is much more than just the daughter of President Trump. As his senior advisor, Ivanka has many responsibilities and the power to influence American politics. Despite criticisms mainly aimed at her lack of experience, the first daughter is proud to be an unpaid employee of the White House.
She acknowledged concerns about her “personal capacity” in a statement saying, “I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role.”
Michelle Obama Was The First African-American First Lady
After graduating from Harvard Law School, Michelle Obama joined a Chicago firm where she met her future husband, Barack Obama. Michelle was also the associate dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago and the vice president for Community and External Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Michelle became the first African-American first lady when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. She has since been recognized for her exceptional public speaking skills and for being a proponent of healthy living and education.
Nancy Pelosi Is The Only Female Speaker In US History
Fifteen years after entering politics, Nancy Pelosi was elected to be the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives. Four years later, in 2006, she became the House’s speaker. This role made her the first female Speaker in US history.
Though Democrats lost the House in 2010, they regained it in 2019, at which point Nancy was reinstated as the speaker. Her role places her second in line to become president, after the vice president.
Elizabeth Warren Was A First-Generation College Graduate
Being that Elizabeth Warren ran for president in 2020, it’s hard to believe that she was a first-generation college student. She earned her law degree from Rutgers University and went on to defeat incumbent Republican Scott Brown for a seat in the Senate.
While running for president, Elizabeth announced a $20.5 trillion “Medicare For All” plan and became one of the prominent Democratic picks. Four years before landing a spot in the Senate, Elizabeth led the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Greta Thunberg Spoke At The UN Climate Action Summit
As just a teenager, Greta Thunberg made a splash in international politics, bringing the climate crisis to the forefront of discussion. After her school strikes morphed into a worldwide movement, she was invited to speak at the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit.
After traveling on a zero-emissions yacht, the Swedish sixteen-year-old gave a famous “How Dare You” speech at the Summit in New York City. Time listed Greta as Person of the Year in 2019, and she’s since continued to push for action through protests and speeches.
Ilhan Omar Went From Refugee To Representative
Ilhan Omar is the first Somali American to serve in Congress and the first woman of color to hold elected office for Minnesota. She was elected to Minnesota’s 5th congressional district in 2019 after serving two years in the state’s House of Representatives.
Ilhan is also one of the first Muslims to be elected to Congress, which lead to a change in the House’s rule regarding headwear. Ilhan and her family fled Somalia and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before arriving at New York in 1995.
Sanna Marin Is The World’s Youngest Prime Minister
At the age of 34, Sanna Marin became the youngest prime minister the world had ever seen when she was elected to office in 2019. Sebastian Kurz was elected chancellor of Austria, a comparable position, at the age of 33, making him the youngest state leader in history.
Sanna was also the first vice president of Social Democratic Youth. She became chairperson of Tampere’s City Council within months of being elected and became a part of the Finnish Parliament in 2015. Her current cabinet is predominantly women, consisting of 12 females out of 19 total members.
Ginsburg Was The 2nd Woman Elected To The Supreme Court
Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a women’s rights advocate for decades. She was one of one eight females in her class of 500 while at Harvard Law School. While attending the graduate program, she became the first female to join the Harvard Law Review.
After transferring to Columbia Law School, she graduated top of her class, all while being a mom. Ruth moved up the ranks to become the second woman elected to the Supreme Court and has since ruled on landmark cases, especially those related to gender equality.
Sonia Sotomayor Is The First Latina On The US Supreme Court
In addition to being the first Hispanic and Latina member of the US Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor was on the board of directors for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. She graduated from Yale Law School in 1979, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal.
President Barack Obama nominated Sonia to the Supreme Court in 2009, and the Senate voted her in by a whopping 68 to 31. She’s since voted on significant cases, especially regarding race and defendants’ rights.
Queen Elizabeth II Is The Longest-Reigning Monarch
Queen Elizabeth II has held her position for more than 65 years, making her the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She was crowned in 1953 at just 27-years-old, at which point she became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries.
Even at the age of 93, the Queen still meets with prime ministers and has a valued political voice. Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was the first to be broadcasted around the world, and the public has had their eye on her ever since.
Ursula von der Leyen Is President Of The European Commission
These days, Ursula von der Leyen is recognized as being the first female president of the European Commission. Before she achieved that milestone, she had earned the title of being the first female Minister of Defense in Germany.
At that time, Ursula boosted Germany’s defense system by calling for more military spending. She also served as deputy leader of the Christian Democratic Union from 2010 to 2019. Before then, Ursula was Minister of Family Affairs and Youth and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
Nirmala Sitharaman Is India’s First Female Finance Minister
After obtaining two master’s degrees, Nirmala Sitharaman entered politics in 2006 and became a spokesperson for India’s Bharatiya Janata Party in 2010. After moving up the ranks, Nirmala became the country’s second female Minister of Defense in 2017.
In 2019, Nirmala was appointed as the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, making her the first woman to achieve such a role in India, the fifth-largest economy in the world. As a result, she was the head of India’s COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force.
Katrin Aims To Make Iceland Carbon-Neutral By 2040
Katrin Jakobsdottir is Iceland’s second female prime minister, a role she’s had since 2017. Prior to that, she was the deputy chairperson for the Left-Green Movement and served as Minister of Education, Science, and Culture and of Nordic Co-operation.
As an environmentalist, Katrin aims to make Iceland a carbon-neutral country by 2040. In 2020, she was named Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, a title that has been held by female presidents and prime ministers from around the world since its creation in 1996.
Christine Lagarde Was France’s First Female Finance Minister
In 2007, Christine Lagarde became France’s first female finance minister, a role she held until 2011. Immediately after, she became the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
In 2019, she leveled-up her title once again, earning the title of president of the European Central Bank. Christine first established herself as a trendsetter in the late ’90s when she became the first female chair of a major international law firm. She’s since been ranked the top finance minister in the Eurozone.
Angela Merkel Is Germany’s First Female Chancellor
Angela Merkel became Germany’s first female chancellor in 2005 after winning the election by just three seats. In 2018, she stepped down from her role as chair of the Christian Democratic Union, where she had also served as minister for the environment and nuclear safety and secretary-general.
Having entered politics in 1989 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Angela was the first former citizen of the German Democratic Republic to lead Germany after it was reunited. She also played a role in forming the European Union in 1993.
Amina J. Mohammed Is Nigeria’s Minister Of Environment
Nigerian-British politician Amina J. Mohammed entered politics in 2002 when she coordinated the Task Force on Gender and Education for the United Nations Millennium Project. She later became the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria, whereby she established the Virtual Poverty Fund.
After becoming the Founder and CEO of the Center for Development Policy Solutions, Amina chaired UNESCO’s Advisory Board. She became Nigeria’s Minister of Environment in 2015 and in 2017, the United Nations appointed her their Deputy Secretary-General.
Betsy DeVos Is Secretary Of The US Department Of Education
Betty DeVos has been a prominent figure in the Republican Party since she was chair of the party in Kent County in the ’80s. She later chaired the Michigan Republican Party from both 1996 to 2000 and 2003 to 2005.
President George W. Bush appointed Betty to the board of trustees of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2004. In 2017, the Senate voted Betty the secretary of the US Department of Education. She just barely landed the role, with Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.
Nicola Is The First Female Leader Of The Scottish National Party
Nicola Sturgeon was the first female to hold two major Scottish titles: leader of the Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland. After being a shadow minister for education, health, and justice, Nicola was appointed Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing in 2007.
In 2012, Nicola became the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment, and Cities. Two years later, she assumed office as the First Minister of Scotland, a role she has had ever since.
Kristalina Is The International Monetary Fund’s Chairwoman
Kristalina Georgieva became the Chairwoman and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund in 2019. As a Bulgarian economist, Kristalina is the first person from an emerging country to hold such a position.
Prior to that, she serves as the Vice-President of the European Commission and then the Acting President of the World Bank Group. In 2010, Kristalina was deemed the “European of the Year” and the “EU Commissioner of the Year,” specifically because of her humanitarian work.