Advances in Female Leadership

Over the past year, women have made significant advancements in education, economic relations, and political empowerment- both in the United States and on the international field. Michelle Bachelet, elected in 2006 as the first female president of Chile and ranked 17th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine in the same year, now promotes female leadership as the executive director of U.N. Women (who is supposedly considering running in Chile’s 2013 presidential election). Another trailblazer, Dilma Rousseff, continues to impress onlookers as she assertively manages Latin America’s biggest nation, Brazil, since becoming the country’s first female president in the 2010 elections. In Germany, Angela Merkel is working to stabilize Germany’s debt crisis and preserve her own seat as the country’s first female chancellor. The list of international women leaders continues- such as France’s Christine Lagarde (appointed the first female to lead the I.M.F. in 2011).

Female leaders from the United States are taking charge as well. Virginia M. Rometty has been fulfilling the duties of I.B.M.’s first female chief executive, Michelle Obama has been running a vigorous campaign on health, and Hillary Clinton has been serving as Secretary of State, commenting that “When it comes to the enormous challenge of our time — to systematically and relentlessly pursue more economic opportunity in our lands — we don’t have a person to waste. And we certainly don’t have a gender to waste.” 

With the recent influx of female empowerment all over the world, it seems fitting that three women claimed The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and prodemocracy campaigner Tawakul Karman of Yemen were awarded the honor due to their nonviolent promotion of peace, democracy, and human rights and equality. They were the first female prize winners since 2004’s Wangari Maathai of Kenya, who recently passed away.

Women from Forbes’ 2011 List of the World’s 70 Most Powerful People:

4. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany

11. President Sonia Gandhi of the Indian National Congress

16. Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton of the U.S.A.

22. President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil

39. Manager Director Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund

64. Executive Director Jill Abramson of the New York Times

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