Women have, will continue to run the world


Children are not to blame in child marriages

By Managing Editor

Hillary Clinton’s loss on Nov. 8 was a blow to women who thought the “highest, hardest glass ceiling” would finally be shattered. So where should American women look to find female political role models? Look around the world to the many women who have served and continue to serve in the highest offices known to man—and woman.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway, 1981, 1986–1989, 1990–1996

Brundtland was the first female prime minister of Norway and filled her cabinet with female politicians. In a speech at the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, Brundtland said, “Today, four-year-olds ask their mommies, ‘but can a man be prime minister?'”

Claudette Werleigh, Prime Minister of Haiti, 1995–1996

Haiti’s first female prime minister’s career did not start or stop with her time in office. Before serving as prime minister, Werleigh was secretary general and founded the Women’s League for Women’s Empowerment. She now holds the position of Peace Envoy for Pax Christi International.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, 2005–present

Merkel is considered one of the most powerful, influential women in the world. After the recent election of Donald Trump, she said she will work with him if he upholds “democracy, freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views.” 

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, 2006–present

Johnson Sirleaf spoke out against her country’s military regime in 1985 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. She did not return to Liberia until 1997, when she attempted to run for office but lost and went into exile. Johnson Sirleaf did not give up and came back to win the presidency in 2005. She went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman for their efforts in peace-building and women’s rights. 

Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica, 2006–2007, 2012–2016 

Simpson-Miller came into office after serving in various political offices including minister of defense, development, information and sports. One of her notable social justice initiatives as prime minister was during her campaign, when she became the first head of government in Jamaica to support the civil rights of LGBT Jamaicans. 

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritius, 2015–present

Gurib-Fakim was elected with no political experience but years of experience as a biodiversity scientist. Her focuses in office include global warming and promoting science and technology across Africa. Gurib-Fakim said, in a TED interview after being elected, as a female biologist and president, she has “gone through the glass ceiling, and that’s an important message to send to young women and girls.”