We are currently witnessing powerful women leaders who have come to the fore even as the world struggles to heal. Here are some who made headlines recently.
By Reya Mehrotra
By now, almost everyone has heard of Jacinda Ardern, the young and popular Prime Minister of New Zealand. At 39, Ardern has achieved what no other world leader could amid the pandemic: she made her country corona-free and was appreciated for her management and leadership skills. When New Zealand was declared corona-free, she did a little dance, Ardern confessed. A mother of a young child, she is supported by a stay-at-home husband.
The chancellor of Germany since 2005, Merkel has a doctorate in quantum chemistry. Before entering the world of politics, she worked as a research scientist. Before the pandemic, she was considering resigning and taking a back seat, but rejuvenated her career as a leader to fight the virus in her country. Merkel combined her scientific knowledge and experience and involved epidemiologists to roll out pragmatic policies to battle the virus. Not surprisingly, she has once again become a popular leader. Merkel understood the seriousness of the virus early on and insisted on a complete lockdown and widespread testing.
The Taiwanese politician is the President of Taiwan since 2016. In Taiwan, she is the first woman to be elected to office, the first unmarried and the first aboriginal president. An academician, she has a number of qualifications. Under her leadership, Taiwan became Covid-free without having to compromise on its democratic principles. After declaring Taiwan Covid-free, Ing-wen said the country would assist other countries in overcoming the challenge.
The young Indian-American has been named by US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as his digital chief of staff. She will play a key role in his election campaign that will entirely be virtual in the light of the pandemic. Raj obtained her MBA from Stanford University after graduating from Georgetown University in international politics. She has previously served in the offices of a number of notable leaders, including the office of Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, California governor Gain Newsom and as part of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s campaign. Raj, who will work on maximising the impact of Biden’s digital campaign, resides in Los Angeles, California.
The young politician was recently in news for comfortably winning the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District. She won against powerful rivals like Michelle Caruso Cabrera, a former CNBC international correspondent, who received several donations. “Wall Street CEOs, from Goldman Sachs to Blackstone, poured in millions to defeat our grassroots campaign tonight. But their money couldn’t buy a movement,” she tweeted after the victory. She took office at the age of 29 and became the youngest woman ever to serve in the US Congress. Ocasio-Cortez had humble beginnings as she worked as a waitress and bartender before contesting, and has a massive social media presence. She graduated in international relations and economics from Boston University.
Solberg is the second woman prime minister of Norway who has earned the nickname of ‘Iron Erna’ after Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Iron Lady’ nickname due to her tough stance on asylum policies. She is also the longest serving PM of Norway from the Conservative Party and has been re-elected to the Norwegian parliament five times. After it was revealed that the active corona cases in Norway were very less, Solberg announced the lifting of travel curbs from July 15 onwards to and from European countries. Diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age, she remained actively involved in student unions and groups.
Sylveria Elfrieda Jacobs is the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands in the Carribean. Having started as a teacher and student coordinator, she went on to serve as the minister of education, youth, sport and culture in the second cabinet of Sint Maarten. Under her progressive leadership, Sint Maarten became corona-free in June. When the cases were seen as rising, she delivered a strict message to the people of her country: “Simply. Stop. Moving,” she said in a video address.