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In 2017, Jacinda Ardern became the youngest Prime Minister of New Zealand in 150 years. But that only came after she was the youngest-ever leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. She handled the COVID-19 outbreak in an empathetic and personable manner, hopping on Facebook Live to deliver information to residents. That ultimately led New Zealand to become one of the first countries in the world to almost entirely eradicate Coronavirus.
Mia Mottley is the first female prime minister in Barbados since its independence in 1966. She is a champion of foreign policy, fighting for enhanced cooperation across the western hemisphere and within the United Nations in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic issues. Mottley also promotes gender equality beyond the strides Barbados has already taken. She is a fierce advocate for further action to elevate women at the grassroots level.
Nicola Sturgeon is the first woman to hold the positions of First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party. An advocate for Scottish independence, Sturgeon also backed the Catalan independence referendum. She was appointed #HeForShe Global Advocate by UN Women, promising to advance global gender equality and leading by example with a gender-balanced cabinet.
Sahle-Work Zewde is the first female President of Ethiopia. She worked in diplomacy for over 30 years, and was the UN’s top official at the African Union. Zewde is also one of the first women to have held numerous leadership positions across the UN. After her appointment in 2018, she spoke about the need for continuous strides towards gender equality, saying, “I know today I have said a lot about female empowerment, but expect me to be even more vocal in the coming years about female rights and equality.”
Sanna Marin has been serving as the Prime Minister of Finland since December 2019. She is the youngest head of government in the world and leads a coalition headed completely by women. Regarding human rights, she states, “For me, human rights and equality of people have never been questions of opinion but the basis of my moral conception” on her website. “The values that are important to me are equality, freedom and global solidarity. These are also the founding values of social democracy.”