Impressive Stories about Women Leaders Globally8 minute
For years, the number of women in politics has been relatively small. Despite the trend of having a more balanced gender representation, the political sphere is still within the clutches of misogynist men. Thankfully, things are changing. More and more women are making their mark in every field be it politics, entrepreneurship or business. They are defying stereotypes by not just entering these so called ‘male-dominated fields’ but also thriving and showing the world how things are done. Today, women leaders are everywhere. However, the role of women in sports, politics, entrepreneurship or leadership is not a new phenomenon. They’ve been around for years.
From Sirimavo Bandaranaike being elected as the first female prime minister in the world to Jacinda Ardern becoming the youngest female leader in New Zealand, women have definitely come a long way to claim a seat at the table. Besides making major strides in every field, they’ve created a movement of their own through dedication and passion, and are on the frontline of the gender equity battle.
10 Inspiring Stories of Women Leaders you Should Know
Here are the impressive tales of famous women leaders who took a stand and made sure their voices were heard, loud and clear:
- Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
Last year, Jacinda Ardern was making headlines for all the right reasons. She’s not just New Zealand’s youngest prime minister ever but also the only woman leader to have implemented effective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under her ardent leadership, the country was declared COVID-free. However, this wasn’t the first time the 40-year-old gave us a reason to celebrate. Her story and journey are inspiring. Whether it’s breaking stereotypes or standing up for women’s rights, Ardern has always practiced what she preaches. In 2018, she became the ultimate inspiration for working women around the globe when she became the second woman to give birth while still in office (Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was the first in 1990). In a society where people expect a woman to quit her job and take on parenting duties, Jacinda returned to work instead and her partner, Clarke Gayford became a full-time stay-at-home dad. Standing up for women, talking about motherhood and bringing her baby to the UN are other instances that earned her utmost praise.
- Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States of America
Kamala Harris created history by becoming the first woman, first Black and first Indian-American vice president of the United States. However, even before this, Kamala was seen breaking barriers. Besides being a powerful senator, she is also an accomplished lawyer. In her victory speech, she made a very strong remark that made her an inspiration for many overnight. She said “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.” Kamala has always stood up for women and children. Even as a prosecutor, she specialised in child sex abuse trials and domestic violence cases. She has even fought for marriage equality in California and her work with the LGBTQ community is widely recognised by many.
- Sushma Swaraj, Former Minister of External Affairs of India
Sushma Swaraj was a woman leader who broke records, inspired many and shattered glass ceilings. Even the day she breathed her last, she was seen thanking PM Modi for the end of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that accorded a special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Her tweet exactly read “I was waiting to see this day in my lifetime." Little did she know that it would be the last day of her journey. Swaraj became Delhi’s first female chief minister for three months in 1998. She made the youth and young politicians believe that it’s possible for a woman without famous parents to raise a family and climb the political ladder at the same time. She always took a stand for women rights and empowerment. Even during her campaigning days, she would encourage women to raise their children and work at the same time. Work-life balance is something she emphasised on. During her stint, hundreds of Indians would tweet to her asking for help during times of crisis. Her active presence on social media is something the youth of the country remember even today.
- Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
Angela Merkel is considered the most powerful woman leader in the world. She has been the chancellor of Germany for four consecutive terms that is since 2005. Despite being a rebellion within her own party and facing numerous challenges from Brexit, Merkel has successfully been able to lead the world’s fourth-largest economy based on GDP. It is the biggest run by a woman. She is also a senior G7 leader and the most powerful pillar of the European Union (EU). Even in the wake of the recent pandemic, she has always fought for women’s rights and emphasised on gender equality and equal pay for both men and women. Angela recently said that she won’t be seeking re-election as Chancellor in 2021.
- Melinda Gates, American Philanthropist
Many people call her the wife of the wealthiest man on earth. However, this great woman leader has given away more money than anyone in world history. Marriage and children did not stop her from pursuing her dreams. She was always committed towards driving positive social impact and directing her energy towards the nonprofit world. It’s definitely not something she said just in the air. She kept up the promise she made to herself and started the Melinda Gates Foundation. From then till now, she has made path-breaking achievements in the field of public health throughout the world. From alleviating poverty in some of the world’s poorest regions to promoting education and improving the healthcare facilities worldwide, Melinda has always gone an extra mile. She has also been involved in funding massive vaccination drives. Gates Foundation has also been a catalyst in dropping the maternal mortality rate by 57% in Ethiopia.
- Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Sheikh Hasina is the longest-serving Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has spent four decades in politics and is considered the greatest women leaders of all time. In 2018, she was listed on Forbes as one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. She also received the UNESCO Peace Tree Award for her courageous leadership. Hasina was recently named amongst the top three inspirational women leaders in the Commonwealth for demonstrating extraordinary leadership in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As a woman leader, she has always fought for women’s rights and has taken measures to uplift their position in society. She even said that the key to help women face challenges is to educate them and enable them with financial freedom.
- Indra Nooyi, Former CEO of PepsiCo
Indra Nooyi is the former chairperson and chief executive officer (CEO) of PepsiCo. She was the first woman and first non-American to reach this position. Nooyi was not just ranked at number 13 on the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women but was also the 2nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list in 2015. During her stint, she changed the face of PepsiCo. Of the many awards and accolades conferred upon her, she was also presented the Padma Bhushan in 2007 by the Government of India. Her leadership qualities are an inspiration to many even today.
- Nita Ambani, Chairperson of Reliance Foundation & Non-Executive Director, Reliance Industries
Nita Ambani is a multitasking boss woman. She is a mother, businesswoman and owner of a cricket team (Mumbai Indians). Despite her busy schedule, she is known to always make time for her family and children. In 2003, she established the Dhirubhai International School in memory of her beloved father-in-law. Besides this, she is also the chairperson and founder of the philanthropic organisation, Reliance Foundation. It focuses on rural transformation, education, arts, culture, disaster response and urban renewal. In 2019, Nita Ambani became the first Indian elected as board member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Recently, on International Women’s Day, she also launched a digital platform called “Her Circle”, a social networking platform that will cater to the rapidly rising aspirations, dreams and ambitions of women across all social backgrounds. In her statement to the press, she also said "When women lean on women, incredible things happen!” Kudos to this boss lady!
- Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg has served as the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook since 2008. She has been a catalyst in dramatically increasing the social media firm’s revenue. Sheryl is not just a powerful female leader but also one of the most powerful women in America. When she joined Facebook, she paved the way for other women to join the so-called male-dominated field of technology. In 2013, she also published a book titled “"Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead." In the book, she shares tips, techniques and facts to encourage women to go after their dreams. Besides her full-time job at Facebook, she is also heavily invested in giving back to the community. Through the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, she aims at helping youngsters focus on their goals and education rather than loans.
- Tsai Ing-wen, President of the Republic of China
Tsai Ing-wen is the first female president of Taiwan. Despite facing several challenges, Tsai emerged successful. Her credibility was questioned multiple times because she is a woman. However today, she is the most transformational leader in her region. From global affairs to gender equality in Asia to bringing about the most effective response to the pandemic, Tsai has truly redefined the qualities a leader must possess. Her aim is to create a society where women’s successes are not considered rare occurrences but something that happens naturally.
From politics to business, these women leaders across the globe went an extra mile to create history. They never hesitated to take a stand for what is right and went on to do their very best for the welfare of their country and mankind.
Image Source: Wikipedia