8 Badass Women In Politics Who Are Paving The Way For Future Feminists
I decided I was going to be a politician in fourth grade. My inspiration? Elle Woods.
For those of you readers who don't know, Elle is the pink-loving, beret-wearing, chihuahua-toting lawyer in the 2001 classic, "Legally Blonde." This goofy, lighthearted movie gave me my first experience with the American judicial system. I was hooked.
Over a decade and several thousands of dollars of debt later, I graduated with my degree in political science. While I was in school, I became aware of the lack of female representation in politics. As I looked around my classes, I saw mostly men in khakis, not women in pink.
This issue is one that can been seen on the global scale. According to the United Nations, although the number of female national parliamentarians has doubled in the last 20 years, women still only account for 22 percent of the government roles. In the United States alone, women make up a mere 19.4 percent of Congress.
As we celebrate Women's History Month, it's important to note some of the women we do have to look up to. While we still have a long way to go, there are some pretty badass female politicians out there right now who are making history and paving the way for future generations. So, here are eight of the most powerful women in politics:
1. Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren has served as the senior United States senator for Massachusetts since her election in 2012. Senator Warren is championed as one of the nation's top experts on bankruptcy and the financial problems facing the middle class.
The word's out: I'm a woman, and I'm going to have trouble backing off on that. I am what I am. I'll go out and talk to people about what's happening to their families, and when I do that, I'm a mother. I'm a grandmother.
Senator Warren trumps the notion that women can't "have it all." Right on, Liz.
2. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
In 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected as the 24th president of Liberia, making her the first elected female head of state in Africa. In 2011, President Sirleaf was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work." Since her inauguration, President Sirleaf has contributed to securing peace in Liberia and strengthening the position of women.
3. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
She's the Notorious RBG. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Known as a champion for women's rights, Justice Ginsburg has fought tirelessly on the Supreme Court since 1993. When asked about the role of women in the Supreme Court, Ginsburg had this to say:
And when I'm sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]? And I say when there are nine, people are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that.
4. Tsai Ing-wen
Tsai Ing-wen was elected as Taiwan's first female president on January 16, 2016. Her election into office could eventually lead to big changes on a global scale. She has proven you don't need a man to be an incredible politician.
5. Hillary Clinton
I bet you haven't heard of her before. From former United States senator of New York and secretary of state to current presidential candidate and meme queen, Hillary Clinton has built quite the impressive resume for herself. Whether you agree with her on issues or not (I'm more of a Bernie fan myself), you have to admit Clinton is an incredibly gifted politician.
6. Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel has been the chancellor of Germany since 2005, making her the European Union's longest-serving head of government. Chancellor Merkel is a staunch supporter of human rights, often speaking out on important issues:
To exclude groups of people because of their faith, this isn't worthy of the free state in which we live. It isn't compatible with our essential values. And its humanly reprehensible, xenophobia, racism, extremism have no place here. We are fighting to ensure that they don't have a place elsewhere either.
7. Sonia Sotomayor
Damn, Daniel. Back at it again with the Supreme Court justices (I am so sorry).
Associate Justice Sotomayor was nominated by President Obama in 2009 and is the first justice of Hispanic origin. An eloquent spokeswoman for issues such as education, women's rights and race, Justice Sotomayor has made a massive impact on the Supreme Court in the seven years since her nomination.
8. Atifete Jahjaga
Add Atifete Jahjaga to the "badass women with impressive resumes" list. Not only is she the current president of Kosovo, she's also the country's first female president, the first female head of state in the modern Balkans and Kosovo's youngest person to be elected to the office.
These eight phenomenal women represent only the tip of the iceberg. This Women's History Month, take a minute to thank the powerful women in your government (hi, Amy Klobuchar). Whether you write a quick note, make a call or even thank them via Twitter, a little recognition goes a long way.
Keep in mind that women have the power to sway an election. If you want to elect a candidate into office, get involved. Your voice matters. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go practice my bend and snap.