Women across the globe are making a difference at every level of legislature. But for women, succeeding as political leaders – whether in local government or the highest offices in their countries – often comes at a price. Their appearances, behavior and opinions are endlessly questioned and scrutinized. Despite it all, they’ve stood tall on the global stage and continued to shape the political arena. Here are five political leaders we should know about:
Theresa May, Home Secretary, United Kingdom
As the UK’s Home Secretary since 2010, May is responsible for the UK’s internal affairs, as well as immigration and citizenship. May has presided over some of the UK’s most critical challenges – including an increased terrorist threat and the current immigration crisis.
Julia Gillard, Former Prime Minister, Australia
Serving as Australia’s first female Prime Minister from 2010-2013, Gillard introduced significant nation-building legislation such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme and initiated far-reaching developments in foreign and economic policy. As Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, she advocates for women’s rights and emphasizes girls’ education as key to a thriving global economy.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, Scotland
In 2014, Sturgeon became the first female to be appointed as Scotland’s First Minister. In the UK’s general election in 2015, Sturgeon’s party won a landslide victory in Scotland – snagging 56 out of 59 seats in the House of Commons.
Segolene Royal, Socialist Party member, France
Royal ran as the Socialist candidate in the 2007 election, becoming the first woman in France to be nominated as a presidential candidate. Though she eventually lost the race to Nicolas Sarkozy, Royal later took on a senior role in the current government – serving as the Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.
Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN
As the current United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Power is at the forefront of global leadership and change. Last month, she launched the #FreeThe20 campaign to raise public awareness of the plight of female political prisoners around the world. The campaign will focus on 20 women prisoners in order to draw attention to wrongful imprisonment. In 2015, Power was named one of Forbes’ world’s most powerful women.
Laura Dunn specializes in content creation, social media and bespoke PR, and works with brands, organizations and individuals in both the USA and the UK. Laura started blogging in 2008, creating her blog Political Style. Laura writes for The Huffington Post, Fortune and many other publications. You can follow her on Twitter here: @lauraemilyd.