Women in Politics: Meet 7 Inspiring Women Fighting for Change

By Mandana Mofidi

Nov 2, 2011 5:34pm

These seven women have redefined, revolutionized and reawakened the spirit of women in politics.  Two of them are winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for their remarkable efforts to end discrimination and suffering for women worldwide.  Together this powerful sisterhood of seven is increasing global attention towards the world’s most vulnerable women and girls.

In partnership with Women Deliver and the Women Deliver 100 Most Inspiring People Delivering For Girls and Women, the Million Moms Challenge is proud to salute the following women for their tireless work to improve the lives of women, securing a better life for the next generation of women and mothers.

Leymah Gbowee, Liberia

Peace Activist, Founder and Executive Director of the Women Peace and Security Network – Africa, Recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize  
Leymah Gbowee Women in Politics: Meet 7 Inspiring Women Fighting for Change
Issue: Conflict resolution and gender equality
How she delivers for women
: When Gbowee speaks, everybody listens. As the recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, she was recognized for her non-violent approach towards ensuring the safety of women and for her full participation in peace-building work.  This fierce mother of six rallied Liberia’s women to bring down a dictator and end a civil war, and she didn’t stop there. In 2003, Gbowee organized women in her church to demonstrate for an end to Liberia’s 14-year civil war. That small demonstration grew into a nationwide, nonviolent women’s movement, as Gbowee led an unprecedented alliance of Christian and Muslim women to hold sit-ins, pray, sing, dance, confront armed rebels and eventually hold a sex strike, demanding an end to the war. Their two-year campaign forced President Charles Taylor from power, and helped elect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president of Liberia. Gbowee now runs the Women Peace and Security Network – Africa, organizing women in places like the Congo, to follow the Liberian example. She has erased any doubt that women have the power to take control of their own destinies and determine the fate of nations.
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Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, Jordan

Queen of Jordan, Founder of Madrasati, Co-Founder and Global Co-Chair for 1GOAL
Queen Rania Women in Politics: Meet 7 Inspiring Women Fighting for Change
Issue: Girls’ education and empowerment
How she delivers for women
: Jordan’s influential, tech-savvy Queen has leveraged her role in the international spotlight to make a passionate, no-nonsense case for girls’ education worldwide. Her organization, Madrasati, has helped reinvigorate Jordan’s schools, and she co-chairs 1Goal, which campaigns for educational opportunities for children worldwide. Above all, she has been a fierce and articulate champion of girls’ potential, arguing that educating and empowering girls – and preventing early marriage and premature motherhood – creates a positive cascade through societies, in the form of economic growth, political stability, and improved health for everyone.
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 by clicking here.

 

Hillary Clinton, USA
Secretary of State, Democratic Presidential Candidate in 2008, Former Senator, Former First Lady of the United States

Hillary Clinton Women in Politics: Meet 7 Inspiring Women Fighting for Change
Issue: Women’s rights and reproductive health
How she delivers for women
: How to summarize what Clinton’s career has meant for women around the world? A prescient advocate for children’s rights and welfare, she became an indispensable champion of gender equality both at work and at home, and a staunch defender of reproductive rights. It is no coincidence that her tenure as First Lady coincided with the passage of seminal policies for American women and children. In 1995 her declaration that “it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights,” at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, electrified the world. Her run for the president of the United States made the prospect of a woman as commander-in-chief seem not only possible, but inevitable. And in her tenure as secretary of state she has proven that she doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers, speaking out forcefully on women’s rights. In her long and truly remarkable career, Clinton has been a role model to millions, an indispensable voice, and one of the most relentless advocates for women worldwide.
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Shirin Ebadi, Iran
Human rights lawyer and activist, Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
Shirin Ebadi Women in Politics: Meet 7 Inspiring Women Fighting for Change
Issue: Women’s rights and gender equality
How she delivers for women
: An internationally recognized human rights advocate, Ebadi has spent decades fighting for the rights of women, children, and political prisoners in Iran. She was one of the first female judges in Iran, until she was stripped of her position after the Islamic Revolution. She then went into private practice, taking up the cases of jailed and persecuted dissidents, often facing persecution and arrest herself. She is one of the founders of the Million Signatures Campaign, which demands an end to discrimination against women in Iranian law. In 2003, she became the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Her unimaginable courage in the face of government repression has made her a leading light in the struggle for women’s equality.
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 by clicking here.

 

Laura Bush, USA
Former First Lady of the United States, Founder of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health

Laura Bush Women in Politics: Meet 7 Inspiring Women Fighting for Change
Issue: Women’s health and empowerment
How she delivers for women: Bush has used her place on the international stage to advocate for the rights, health, and education of girls and women, both in the U.S. and around the world. She has raised awareness of and funding for heart disease and breast cancer – two of the top killers of women worldwide – and in 2007, she founded the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health. She has publicly supported women’s reproductive rights, despite opposition from many members of her own party. And as First Lady, she spoke out passionately for women’s human rights in Afghanistan, and became a leading voice for global literacy programs, visiting schools around the world to speak on the importance of girls’ education. Through her work, Bush has demonstrated that champions for women’s health and rights transcend borders and party lines, and she has become a powerful voice for women worldwide.
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 by clicking here.

 

 

Michelle Bachelet, Chile
Executive Director of UN Women, Doctor, Former President of Chile

Michelle Bachelet Women in Politics: Meet 7 Inspiring Women Fighting for Change
Issue: Gender equality and women’s empowerment
How she delivers for women: A lifelong activist who faced political persecution in her youth, Bachelet was the first woman in Latin America to be appointed minister of defense, and eventually rose to become Chile’s first female President in 2006. Bachelet made gender equity a centerpiece of her tenure and she has been an ardent advocate of women’s political, economic and reproductive rights worldwide. In 2010, she became the first head of UN Women, tasked with ratcheting up the UN’s efforts on gender equality and female empowerment worldwide. Given her history, she’s the right woman for the job.
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 by clicking here.

 

Saudatu Sani, Nigeria
Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on MDGs, Chair of AdvocacyNigeria

SaudatuaSani Women in Politics: Meet 7 Inspiring Women Fighting for Change
Issue: Maternal health
How she delivers for women
: Sani has convinced her government that investing in women pays. Despite the deaths of nearly 60,000 women during pregnancy and childbirth each year, the Nigerian government had refused to reveal how it spent its health budget. Sani led the fight to make women’s health a priority, and inspired the government to create a budget line dedicated to “reducing the maternal mortality rate,” a critical first step in increasing funding. She opened a Youth and Women Development Center, which trained many of its students to open their own businesses. And as chair of AdvocacyNigeria, she works to expand free emergency obstetric care and fund reproductive health services. We’re confident that she will keep Nigeria’s parliament focused on women for years to come.
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 by clicking here.

Excerpted from the Women Deliver 100 Most Inspiring People Delivering For Girls and Women.

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