Twenty memorable moments from #WomenInPolitics in 2020

#WomenLeadRewind: Moments that left us inspired, delighted and amused

As we brace ourselves for 2021, we thought we’d leave you with a collection of some of our favourite memories about women in politics from 2020. We’ve picked moments that left us feeling inspired, proud, glad, and sometimes amused. Hope you enjoy this curation - tell us if these were your favourite too, or if we’ve missed any.


Here’s our list:

  1. When Bolivia’s new Left government created a new ministry for “culture, depatriarchalization and decolonization”, with the aim to eliminate colonialism and male domination, to reverse the inequality between men and women, as well as between nationalities.

  1. When the Swiss Parliament finally relaxed its “antiquated” dress code that banned women from wearing dresses revealing the shoulders and arms. 

  1. When Argentina’s streets erupted in a moment of collective joy, after the lower house of the nation’s Congress voted in favour of legalizing abortion.

  1. When a German draft law decided to use the generic feminine nouns, instead of the usual masculine ones to refer to everyone, sparking off a language debate in the country.

  1. When US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed the culture "of accepting violence and violent language against women” after a male colleague called her a bitch on the stairs of Capitol Hill.

  1. When Paris’ city authorities were fined for having too many women in senior positions, violating the legal requirement for gender parity. Mayor Anne Hidalgo responded by saying she was “filled with joy”, and was happy to pay the fine.

  1. When Malaysian MP Kasthuri Patto called out a sexist and racist comment by a male MP of the ruling party, and sought accountability from the prime minister. She took to Twitter, and asked: “Mr PM…Your MP blatantly insulted me and every woman of colour with his disgusting remark…What is your stand on this?”

  1. When Afghanistan’s political leader Fawzia Koofi, who is one of four women representing the Afghan government in the negotiations with the Taliban, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

  1. When Australian MP Anika Wells admonished the government for presenting a gender-blind budget, that too in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

  1. When Maia Sandu was elected Moldova’s first woman President, overcoming nasty criticism for years (including from the Church) for her choice to not marry and have children.

  1. When Australian MP Nicolle Flint wore a dress made of a garbage bag to protest the country’s sexist political culture. “What I want to know is what should a woman in politics wear?” she asked in a video message. “How about a garbage bag to match your garbage views?”

  1. When Kenya’s Chief Justice advised the country’s President to dissolve the Kenyan Parliament for its failure to implement a constitutional provision that provides for gender-diverse representation.

  1. When first-time MP Monica Lennon’s campaign to end period poverty led to Scotland legislating to provide period products for free.

  1. When Lithuania went from having an all-male cabinet in 2019 to being run by a coalition of three women-led parties and a woman Prime Minister, Ingrida Šimonytė. 

  1. When the people of Chile voted in favour of a new constitution to be drafted with citizens’ involvement, half of them being women, putting the country on track to become the first ever to have a constitution written by women in equal numbers to men.

  1. When Jacinda Ardern was re-elected as New Zealand’s Prime Minister, and named one of the most diverse and representative governments in the country’s history, and perhaps in the entire world.

  1. When Polish MPs from the opposition colour-coordinated their dresses to resemble a rainbow at the swearing-in ceremony of President Andrzej Duda in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

  1. When the women of Belarus, led by Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veronika Tsepkalo and Maria Kolesnikova, took on Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belarus’ president of 26 years (and are continuing to do so, many months down the line). 

  1. When the US election results were announced, a phenomenal bunch of women and LGBTQ+ candidates won, and Kamala Harris was declared the Vice-President-elect.

  1. And of course! When women leaders showed the world what effective leadership during a crisis looks like - compassionate, empathetic and firm.

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