6 Fearless Female Leaders
True enough, some of them did not just stay empowered. They chose to level up and you now see them in the forefront, leaving no field where they are not meaningfully represented. Just like the following
True enough, some of them did not just stay empowered. They chose to level up and you now see them in the forefront, leaving no field where they are not meaningfully represented.
Just like the following women who continue to inspire and lead in their chosen endeavors and personal initiatives. They are in the news or on social media. And they share one common trait and that is they have no fear.
Angela Merkel: Going Beyond Walls
Angela Merkel, chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, is TIME’s Person of the Year 2015. Media describes the rise in her political career as astonishing. And that, among German leaders, she is “a triple anomaly: a woman (divorced, remarried, no children), a scientist (quantum chemistry), and an Ossi (a product of East Germany). They have likewise declared her one the world’s most powerful women.
The past two years have been challenging as she was both praised and criticized at home and abroad for the refugee issue in her country. Through it all, she remained undaunted and her strength lies in her resolve to lead her countrymen towards humanitarianism and openness to the world. Growing up in a Communist-ruled environment, she seems determined to go beyond walls, declaring that “the integration of so many people is an opportunity for tomorrow.”
She is currently in the midst of preparations for the official exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union. And it is her resolve to forge a strong European Union.
In the international scene, she has developed good rapport with the world’s super powers, including new US President Donald Trump. She exhibited raw grace as the American president refused to shake her hand in a recent meeting.
One of her famous lines quoted in news reports is on terrorism: “The strongest response to terrorists is to carry on living our lives and our values as we have until now — self-confident and free, considerate and engaged. We, Europeans will show our free life is stronger than terrorism.”
Aung San Suu Kyi: Graceful, Unafraid
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s first and incumbent state counselor, was in Manila recently to attend the ASEAN Leaders’ Summit. As she held hands with fellow leaders in the region for the commemorative picture-taking, she was the epitome of royal grace.
Her smile doesn’t show long years of house arrest, torture and being held incommunicado.
Currently, she maintains a high international profile and during the said summit, she actively participated in discussions about regional and international issues.
Suu Kyi was given the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991 for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights in her country. Being detained at that time, her government reacted quite negatively and her son, Alexander, accepted the award in her place.
She, however, was able to give her acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway in 2012 when restrictions on her were relaxed and she was allowed to travel outside Myanmar.
Since then, she has ran for elections and held various posts in government, including as minister of energy and education until she was named to her present position last year. In between, she has authored some books that delineate her thoughts during her most difficult years.
“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear,” she has written in a book entitled Freedom from Fear, and Other Writings published in 1995 and reissued in 2010. “It is not power that corrupts but fear; fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
She likewise added that “human beings the world over need freedom and security that they may be able to realize their full potential.”
Theresa Mary May: Honesty Not Gimmickry
Theresa Mary May became prime minister of the United Kingdom last year after a referendum ended the country’s four-decade membership with the European Union. In her first few months, she was quoted as saying, “the public wants honesty from their politicians. Not showy gimmicks.”
Today, she oversees the unfolding events triggered by this separation and displaying solid leadership. She has told her people that “we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.”
In her Brexit speech to the House of Commons last March 2017, she expressed optimism that the United Kingdom will “emerge from this
period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before.”
“I have been clear that the deep and special partnership we seek is in the best interests of the United Kingdom and of the European Union too,” she concluded.
May is the second female prime minister and Conservative Party leader after Margaret Thatcher. Media says she has “the Thatcherite appetite for detail.” She sometimes gets frustrated when they make comments on what she wears, particularly her “kitten heel shoes.”
In between her busy life, she manages her diabetes by injecting herself at least twice a day. “I’m okay with needles fortunately,” she was quoted, proving that an illness will not slow her down in achieving her country’s dreams.
Malala Yousafzai: Advocate of Girls’ Rights
Malala Yousafzai turns 20 years-old this coming July and her credentials would shame a 40-year old public servant.
She is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at age 15. The United Nations (UN) has declared her “the global symbol of every girl’s right to an education.”
There is a World Malala Day – initially celebrated on November 11th and then July 12th, Malala’s date of birth – to raise awareness on the right to education. TIME has included her in its list of 100 Most Influential People from 2013 to 2015.
At the age of 11, Malala started writing a blog that brought attention to the anxiety of living under Taliban rule. “I said to myself, Malala, you must be brave. You must not be afraid of anyone. You are only trying to get an education. You are not committing a crime,” she has written.
But this staunch advocacy has gained her the ire of the Taliban. One day in October 2012, on her way home from school, a Taliban gunman shot her in the head. Condemned all over the world, this sad incident only made her even more resolute in her campaign for girls’ rights and education. “Words and books and pens are more powerful than guns,” she wrote. “I don’t want revenge on the Taliban. I want education for sons and daughters of the Taliban.”
Just recently (April 2017), she became an honorary Canadian citizen — only the sixth and the youngest — and warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In her acceptance speech, she said, “the message I am spreading around the world to our leaders, to our politicians, is that they must prioritize education for each and every child around the world.
“We should not ask children who flee their homes to also give up their dreams,” she added.
Christine Lagarde: ‘Women Make It Better’
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), applauds world leaders who declare they are feminists. But she offers some fair advice.
“Let’s make sure that we hold them to account and that they actually demonstrate what they preach,” she told CNN Money’s Richard Quest during an interview that focused on International Women’s Day.
This French lady likewise praised her fellow women saying that they can be assets in any endeavor they embark on. “When you have women in any executive group, the results are better,” she said. “When you have women join the labor force, it’s better for growth, it improves the whole chemistry.”
She urged that more countries provide proper child care services in support of women who want to pursue careers.
Dubbed the “Rock Star of IMF,” she is the first woman to hold the IMF position and she has earned the respect and admiration of the international scene. Last year, she was once more selected to hold the position for another five-year term. Her reign centers on her efforts to address the global financial crisis. And she once said, “the financial industry is a service industry; it should serve others before it serves itself.”
Lagarde, in her teens, represented her country, France as a member of the national synchronized swimming team.
A lawyer by profession, she joined the government as Foreign Trade minister in 2005 and two years later, she became the first woman to hold the position of Finance and Economy minister of a G-7 country.
And endorsement of her fellow women continues.
Melania Trump: The US First Lady
From the catwalk to the White House, US First Lady Melania Trump traipses down unfamiliar ground.
During the recent International Women’s Day — the first event at the White House that she hosted — Trump shared her life as an immigrant and reiterated her cause towards gender equality as she noted the role of education as a tool against it.
About the same time, Slovenia — where she was born — honored her with a red wine produced in the region near her hometown of Sevnica, and named it “First Lady.”
In another event for women, she graced the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Awards.
“As leaders of our shared global economy, we must continue to work towards gender empowerment and respect for all people from all backgrounds and ethnicities,” she said, “remembering always that we are all ultimately members of one race, the human race.”
She added, “We must declare that the era of allowing the brutality against women and children is over.”
These are the only two speaking engagements the new first lady did within the span of US President Donald Trump’s first 100 days. She seems to be still trying to settle and familiarize herself with her new role.
News reports reveal she’s been visiting children’s hospitals and a local shelter for abused women and children. While campaigning, however, she was very vocal against too much negativity in cyberspace. Early this year, she sued a major newspaper for an article that alleged she worked for an escort service during her days as a model.
Trump met the US president during a Fashion Week party in New York City in September 1998. They were married on January 2005 and they now have an 11-year old son, Baron William. WT