A unique phenomenon of the 21st century is the slew of women in high places. I was amazed to find the number of women in places of power as I began to explore this topic. Women who have well and truly broken the ‘glass ceiling’ imposed on females who live in a man’s world.
The Women’s Rights Movement, using the symbolism of burning the bra in the swinging 60s, proved they could make their voice heard and bring about change. However, modern women in high places could be even more effective, and change the world as the earlier pioneers did. They could make the swinging 60s pale into insignificance. These women in high places are Womanomics in action, the dream Japan had of putting women into positions of authority.
Latest Addition to Women in High Places, Giorgi Maloni
Giorgia Meloni, aged 45, journalist and politician, is the latest addition to women in high places. She is Italy’s first female Prime Minister. Meloni campaigned on regular family values, and now heads one of Europe’s largest economies. Although many say she lacks experience, others, say she has the ability to intimidate her opponents.
Italy has had 67 governments and 30 Prime Ministers in the last 75 years. Among those Prime Ministers was the notorious Silvio Berlusconi, giving Meloni an extremely tough journey ahead.
Notorious Silvio Berlusconi
Meloni heads a coalition of three parties. One party is led by Silvio Berlusconi, a billionaire media tycoon and politician. Berlusconi has been Prime Minister of Italy four times, amid a slew of scandals. He served for a total of nine years, making him the longest serving post-war Prime Minister. His scandals involved tax fraud, sex-related offenses and abusing his office. Found guilty he was allowed to do community service instead of going to jail. He denied having contacts with the Maffia and went so far as to say that the Maffia did not exist. Yet, his charismatic power, leadership skills and demagogic populism, keep him popping up like a ping pong ball in a bucket of water.
So much so, there has evolved a term known as ‘Berlusconismo’, meaning an entrepreneurial spirit which ignores ‘earthquakes’. He says his biggest mistake was “Calling Mussolini a good leader whose biggest error was signing up to exterminate Jews.” Many parallels have been drawn between Donald Trump and Silvio Berlusconi.
Girgio Meloni has to attempt to unite a divided nation. She not only has to met the expectations of her party, but the expectations from the wider international community. On top of that, she has to lead two other parties and deal with any fallout from Berlusconi.
Example of a Woman in High Places
Angela Merkel is a strong example for Meloni to follow. The female Chancellor of Germany was sworn in, in November 2005, and the first woman to hold that position. She emerged as one of the strongest forces in European politics, a position she held for over a decade.
Merkel, at age 68, was called the most powerful woman in the world and became the defacto leader of the European Union. In 2018, she stepped down as leader of her party.
The new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom joins the growing number of women in high places.
Liz Truss, at 47, is only the fourth female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Truss, like Maloni, faces an uphill battle with rampant inflation and an energy crisis, on top of the death of a well-loved female monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
She has had to hit the road running. Like Maloni, Truss is said to be very strong-minded and capable of intimidating her enemies.
Women in High Places
Let’s take a quick look across the amazing number of women in high places, which I only discovered as I researched this article. They are women who hold the reins of power in their nation. There are currently 27 women holding either the position of Prime Minister, President, or in the case of Kamala Harris, Vice President.
Kamala Harris, at 57 is the first female Vice President of the United States. She is the first ever African American and Asian American to become the most powerful woman in America. It would be interesting if she put her name up in 2024 as a Presidential candidate, if President Biden decides not to rerun.
Older Women in High Places
Sheikh Hasina Wajed, is the longest serving Prime Minister in the history of Bangladesh. At 74, she is considered one of the most influential and powerful female leaders in the world. She has held the position continuously since January, 2009.
Sandra Mason, 73, was elected the first President of Barbados in 2021. Ethiopia elected Sahle-Work Zewde, 72, as the first female President, in 2018. Georgia elected its first female Prime Minister, Salome Zourabictivili, aged 70, in 2016.
Halimah Yacob, 68 became Singapore’s first female Prime Minister in 2017. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, 66, was made President of Greece in 2020. Taiwan appointed their first female President, Tsai Ing-wen, 66, in 2016. Samoa appointed High Chieftess, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, 65, Prime Minister in 2021.
Younger Oldies in their Prime
Carrie Lam, 65, was made Chief Executive of Hong Kong in 2016. Samia Suluhu Hassan, 62, became Prime Minister of Tanzania in 2021. Xiomara Castro, 62, became President of Honduras in 2022. Victoire Tomegah Dogbe, 62, was made the first female Prime Minister of Togo in 2020. Tunisia appointed Najla Bouden Ramadhane, 62, Prime Minister in 2021. She was not only their first female Prime Minister, but also the first in the Arab world.
Bidhya Devi Bhandari, 61, became President of Nepal in 2015. Bidhya Devi Bhandari, 61, became President of Nepal in 2015. Erna Solberg, aged 61, has been named ‘Iron Erna’. At 61 she has held the position of Prime Minister since 2013 and is only the second woman to hold the office. Solberg is one of the few Prime Ministers to be re-elected for a second time.
Quick List to Scan
At the risk of boring you, I will give you a list to quickly scan, as it is an amazing phenomenon, the likes of which has never been seen before in recorded history.
Gabo elected Rose Christiane Raponda, 58, as their first female Prime Minister in 2020. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, 55, was elected Prime Minister of Namibia, in 2015. Sweden appointed Magdalena Andersson, 55, Prime Minister in 2021. Uganda elected Robinah Nabbanja, 52, Prime Minister in 2021. Maia Sandu, 50, was made President on Moldova in 2020.
Amazing Younger Women in High Places
Women in high places is not limited to the older generations, with an amazing group of younger women in positions of power.
Lithuania elected Ingrida Simonyte, 47, Prime Minister in 2020. Katrin Jakobsdottir, 46, became Prime Minister of Iceland in 2017. Ana Branbic, 46, became Prime Minister of Serbia in 2017. Anna is not only the first female Prime Minister but also the first openly gay women to reach a high office.
Estonia elected Kaja Kallas, aged 45, Prime Minister in 2021. Mette Frederiksen, 44, has been Prime Minister of Denmark since 2019 and the youngest in Danish history. New Zealand made Jacinda Ardern, 42, Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2017. She was the world’s youngest female head of government when she was elected. Sanna Marin, 36, became Prime Minister of Finland in 2019. She now holds the record of the youngest women elected as a head of state.
Unprecedented Escalation of Women in High Places
Running your eyes over the dates of females elected, you find there has been an unprecedented escalation in recent years. Some of these women influence powerful nations such as America, England and the strongest European economy.
Two women gained positions of power in 2015; two more in 2016; with four gaining high places in 2017.
Only two managed it in 2018, and three in 2019. 2020 saw the number of new arrivals of women of power, rise to five.
In 2021, a whopping seven woman were elected to top jobs. Look at the nations this involved: Barbados, Estonia, Samoa, Sweden, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda. To that list you need to add Kamala Harris in the United States.
2022 has seen Great Britain and now Italy join the ranks of putting women in high places. We have not even looked at women who hold positions as Mayor of a city, or Premier of states, or CEOs. There are nine women serving as Governors of states in America alone.
Women Who Dare to Dream Big
Wouldn’t you enjoy being a fly on a wall if you could get these women in high places in one room at the same time? They are women leaders in a man’s world. No societal limitations hold them back. They are proof that as a woman you can never dream too big. These women were not born to lead, but painfully and courageously worked their way to the top.
Many of them rule areas that are facing major problems, such as Taiwan versus China, or Lithuania versus Russia. A woman ruling a nation that is the home of organized crime, or a female leader in a volatile Arab world, is hard to get your head around. .
However, you too have a voice in your sphere of influence. Use it to good. Let others know of this website, so we can spread the message of whispering encouragement and help women find their unique place in the world.
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