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Twenty memorable moments from #WomenInPolitics in 2022
#WomenLeadRewind: Moments that left us delighted, impressed and inspired
It’s (almost) time to bid farewell to 2022, which means it is time for our year-end special wrap – one of our favourite editions to curate each year. 🎉
Here’s a wrap of some of our favourite moments about women in politics from the year. We’ve picked moments and developments that left us feeling inspired, gave us gooseflesh or reasons to cheer, and definitely left us feeling hopeful about the future of representation in politics.
Please note: This is the last edition of #WomenLead for 2022. Our regular publishing will resume in 2023.
Before we begin, a request: If you’re in the mood for spreading some year-end love❤️, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription of #WomenLead. This is a totally reader-supported publication, and every paid subscription helps us invest in strengthening our work. Thank you!
Here’s our list:
20. When Harvard University invited not one, not two, but THREE incredible women politicians for its graduation ceremony this year. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Moldova’s President Maia Sandu, and New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern addressed different groups of students at the premier institution.
19. When Rhoda Sikilabu became Solomon Islands’ Premier - not only a first for the country, but a rare incident of a woman reaching the top of the political hierarchy in the entire Pacific region. It’s just the beginning!
18. When Brunei (finally!) got a woman minister for the first time in its history in another big moment of the year. Hajah Romaizah was appointed as Education Minister of the Southeast Asian country.
17. We love it when politicians can transcend partisan lines to call out sexism in their own ranks and/or to offer support to women from the other side. In Israel, members of Likud, the largest party, wrote an open letter called for the party to include more women among its candidates in the run-up to polls. In India, MP Kanimozhi apologised for sexist comments made by a member of her own party against women members of a different party.
16. When Italy’s Parliament allowed women MPs to breastfeed babies in the Chamber during Parliamentary debates (earlier they had to use a separate room for this purpose), taking a step forward in making the legislature more gender-sensitive. In a related but similar vein, Scotland announced a “women’s audit” of its Parliament with the hope to break down barriers to equal representation. Those are some cheerful developments!
15. When Francia Márquez became Colombia’s Vice President, the first instance when a Black person got elected to the position in the country. Márquez had thus far never held a political office but has a long history of political activism - she was just 13 when she was actively involved in protests against a dam. In 2018, she won the Goldman Environmental Award for her determined environmental leadership and fight against illegal gold mining.
14. When Droupadi Murmu became the first person from a tribal community to become the head of state in India. This is only the second time India has a woman president. Murmu, who belongs to the Santhal community, is a former teacher, and has previously served as an elected legislator, minister and governor at the state level.
13. When three countries that had ZERO women Parliamentarians (yes, that’s a thing!) just a year ago said goodbye to the ignominy. We were super thrilled that Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Kuwait broke out of that dubious record and elected women MPs after long gaps (a hopeful start, even though a lot more remains to be done!).
12. When an “unknown prankster” hid Winsome Sears’ gavel to prevent her from presiding over the Virginia Senate, only to find her use her shoe instead and carry on with business! Now that’s some sassy response! Sears is the first Black woman to be elected as the lieutenant governor of Virginia in the USA.
11. When Roberta Metsola, Ursula von der Leyen, and Christine Lagarde - three of the topmost officials of the European Union – met in Strasbourg and each of them shared pictures from the meeting on social media with some heartwarming captions.
10. Our heart is always gleaming whenever countries make significant progress on improving women’s representation after an election. This year we had multiple moments of joy – Sweden, Slovenia, Senegal and Costa Rica all saw encouraging shares of women elected, and New Zealand moved to having a female majority Parliament.
8. When Australian women decisively spoke loud and clear during the polls this year. Angry with how the government had responded to allegations of sexual violence in the country’s politics and to the women’s march organised in response to the allegations, women voters played a key role in voting the previous government out.
7. When, after some back and forth, Sierra Leone finally brought in a legislative reform to ensure that women make up at least one-third of all MPs and local-level councillors going forward.
6. When Susanne Hennig-Wellsow, one of the two leaders of Die Linke, Germany’s Left Socialist Party, resigned from her position after the party was in the spotlight for its improper handling of sexual violence allegations.
5. When we learnt about how Irina Karamanos, Chile’s ‘First Lady’, has been asking some tough but important questions about her own gendered role, and working to change the expectations of the role altogether.
4. When Lidia Thorpe, an Australian senator, called a spade a spade… we mean, called the British Queen a coloniser when she was taking oath. Thorpe eventually had to give in and take the oath in the Queen’s name but she made her point, and made it loud enough!
3. When New Zealand and Finland PMs Jacinda Ardern and Sanna Marin slayed a ridiculously sexist (and incredibly stupid) question in a press conference. A journalist asked them if they were meeting because they were of similar ages, Marin stated some plain facts – we are meeting because we are Prime Ministers and Ardern wondered if this was a question that had been asked of former US President Barack Obama and his then New Zealand counterpart John Key, who were also of similar ages when they met.
2. It’s been a very harsh year for the people of Ukraine, and this list would be incomplete without our salute to the country’s leadership, including its women politicians. From adapting to wartime realities, to raising concerns affecting women during the conflict, to negotiating for solutions, women politicians of the country have been leading from the front and striving to find ways to end the war.
1. For the last few months, we have read and watched popular protests from Iran with awe and gooseflesh. The country’s people - led by its women, many of them very young - are not just protesting Mahsa Amini’s tragic death, but are taking on the might of a brutal, conservative regime - head on. The courage, determination and stupendous bravery deserve all our support – more power, more fire to them. In a country where formal politics has little room for women, women are shaking up the politics in more ways than one.
And that’s a wrap for 2022! If you liked this edition, please do share it with your friends, colleagues, family, and anyone and everyone! And don’t forget to press the ❤️ button. We will see you next in 2023 - the next edition of #WomenLead will be published on January 15. Here’s wishing all of you a memorable, joyful and restful holiday season, and a very Happy New Year. 🎊🎈🎄