With International Women’s Day on the horizon, we can expect many headlines invoking the names of world-renowned female politicians: Angela Merkel, Kamala Harris, Jacinda Ardern. What will, perhaps, not be talked about so much are the hidden majority of women in the political arena who go unnoticed. And that’s not to discredit some of the better-known politicians, rather it is an acknowledgement of powerful individuals who may be just as inspiring, albeit you are less likely to have heard of them. As such, it seems fitting to celebrate the diversity of their achievements around the world, particularly with regard to progressive movements.
In 2016, Tsai Ing-wen made history by becoming the first female president of Taiwan, garnering close to double the number of votes her opposition held. As part of the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan, Tsai maintains a consistent track record on a number of issues, both domestic and international. During her time in power, she has brought the country towards significant progressive milestones. With Tsai having long campaigned for equality regardless of sexual orientation, she led the government to officially legislate same-sex marriages in 2018, making Taiwan the first country in Asia to do so.
Tsai Ing-wen has frequently advocated the need for non-partisanship and government transparency, calling for the need to combat increasingly polarised political beliefs in Taiwan and around the world. With regards to the handling of Coronavirus, Tsai Ing-wen and her government’s swift and decisive efforts to save lives resulted in both cases and deaths in the country being significantly lower than those recorded in most states around the world.
Serving as the current Prime Minister of Iceland and head of a coalition government comprised of parties from varying points on the political spectrum, Katrín Jakóbsdottír has been awarded the title of the most trusted politician in the country. Like Tsai Ing-wen, she has maintained consistent pledges to fight inequalities over a broad range of social fields, from civil rights issues such as gender equality, to education and healthcare.
Having previously worked as an educator of languages and literature, Katrín Jakóbsdottír first became involved directly in politics when she became deputy chairperson of the Left-Green Movement in the early 2000s. Preceding her election as Prime Minister, she also worked as Iceland’s minister of education. In a time of increasingly polarised beliefs, Jakóbsdottír is a clear example of the power of collaboration and communication and that we have more in common than what sets us apart.
Stacey Abrams has been involved in politics from a young age; she worked in congressional campaigns from the age of 17, and later would assist in speechwriting for prominent politicians in Georgia, USA. She attended a number of universities, including Yale, where she would become affiliated with civil rights movements, as well as organisations fighting for gun control. After graduating from law school, she became a deputy city attorney for Atlanta, and four years later was elected as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, where she would later be elected as the House Minority Leader and serve in this position until 2017.
According to Times magazine, Stacey Abrams can be credited with having single-handedly prevented the largest tax increase in the history of the state, which would have seen a majority of residents in Georgia paying increased net taxes. Perhaps the most notable of her achievements was her influence in the 2020 Presidential election and subsequent Senate runoffs, with her being responsible for the registration of around 800,000 voters, the majority of which voted for Joe Biden.
This has been a brief list. Here’s hoping that there will be more women in politics who are recognised for their efforts! Happy International Women’s Day!
Image: Scottish Government via Flickr