We are approaching the end of the year 2020. In a year of pandemic, sorrows, and uncertainties, there were still some female personalities who tried their best to make things better for others. Today we are going to celebrate those women and their valuable contribution to society.
New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern is not only a powerful political leader but also an admirable woman who stands out among the odds for her empathetic and humble nature. She went into the 2020 general election with a landslide victory by securing 55% approval rates. She has been applauded for the way she maintained her newborn child and leadership simultaneously during her first term, amending the gun law immediately after the Christchurch Terrorist Attack, being empathetic towards the Muslim community, and handling the Covid-19 outbreak so efficiently. Her quick decision-making quality and way of endorsing women’s empowerment have made her one of a kind. She decisively tackled the Covid-19 pandemic and made New Zealand an example for other nations. She prioritized people’s health and safety with prompt and strict decisions that saved millions of lives. She imposed science-based strategies to limit infections and equally been susceptible to economic growth. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 for her outstanding contribution as a leader and woman.
Kamala Harris is the first-ever female vice president of America elected in the 2020 US presidential election, who formerly served as a senator and a prosecutor. She is also the very first black vice president and a South Asian descent to be elected in the US. In a country, where black people, women in particular, still have to fight for their basic rights, Kamala’s win means a lot. She represents all those deprived black women who need an ambitious and brave leader to uphold their identity. In the past, political female candidates were judged and represented in the media based on their family ties, personal relationships, or controversies. But Kamala has managed to attract the mass through her active campaign for black women, minority women, and women from all walks of life. She will be taking office by breaking all the previous records of the US, a country that failed to bring its talented women into the political arena. Kamala’s winning speech, stating “But while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities” remains one of the powerful moments of 2020 for every woman around the world.
Four Female Nobel Laureates
Nobel Prize still remains an event dominating by men, especially in the scientific categories. But this year, four women from diverse backgrounds added their names to the winning list for their brilliant and extraordinary contributions. They are Emmanuelle Charpentier (chemistry), Jennifer A. Doudna (chemistry), Louise Glück (literature), and Andrea M. Ghez (physics).
Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, a French microbiologist, and Jennifer A. Doudna, an American biochemist jointly won the Nobel Prize 2020 in chemistry, becoming only the sixth and seventh women to receive a Nobel Prize in this category. Their ground-breaking contribution in the treatment of sickle cell disease and cancer therapies using a genetic method called Crispr-Cas9 brought them honor. Charpentier is serving as the director and founder of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens in Berlin, whereas Doudna is working as a professor of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.
Louise Glück, an American poet was honored with the Nobel Prize in literature this year for, as the Nobel Academy declares- “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” Glück is a professor of English at Yale University. Her poem revolves around clarity, family, nature, love, death, trauma, etc. Previously she won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for The Wild Iris in 1993.
Dr. Andrea Ghez, an American astronomer won this year’s Nobel Prize in physics along with Dr. Roger Penrose and Dr. Reinhard Genzel. She became the only fourth female to win a Nobel Prize in the field of physics. Ghez was honored for “the discovery of a supermassive compact object in the center of our galaxy” according to the Nobel Committee. She is currently working as a professor of astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The 2018 election began a progressive movement in the US when a significant number of females were elected to serve the House of Representatives breaking all previous records. Among them, a group of four women lawmakers from diverse backgrounds, popularly known as ‘The Squad’ came to the spotlight for their progressive and extraordinary campaign representing the left-wing of the Democratic Party. The group includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan). This year in the US election, these four wonderful congresswomen were re-elected for their second term. The path to victory was not easy for them. They received misogynistic and racial attacks from Donald Trump and the right groups constantly for their vocal participation and criticism of the Republicans.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC was the youngest (29 years) elected women at the House of Representatives in 2018. She defeated a 10-time incumbent to represent New York’s 14th District. Her win was the talk-of-the-town and considered as an ‘upset’. In 2020, she defeated Republican candidate John Cummings and secured two more years at the Congress. AOC has introduced the Green New Deal Resolution, Medicare for All, and has been protesting against the immigration, migrant detention centers cruelty by the Trump government. She is also popular for her stance against inequality and climate change. With her active social media influence and leadership quality, she has attracted the mass who now believe that AOC would be a successful President someday for the US.
Ilhan Omar is the first Somali American member of the US Congress and one of the first two Muslim congresswomen to be elected to the House of Representatives. She campaigns for issues related to wage equality, student debts, and anti-racism. She fought to change the 181-year-old ban on hijab in the House. She has been critical about her views on Israel and Palestine.
Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman to represent Massachusetts in the House of Representatives. She promotes Medicare for All, the abolishment of Immigrations, and Customs Enforcement (ICE), abortion rights, minimum wage rise, and defunding the police. Ayanna is a rape survivor who later emphasized the abortion law for rape victims.
Rashida Tlaib represents Michigan’s 13th Congressional District and is the first Palestinian American woman to have served the Congress. Tlaib’s contribution includes pushing Trump’s impeachment after the Mueller report, challenging Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony, and facilitating environmental justice amendments to pass.
Although all these wonderful women remained active in specific countries, they surely did inspire a lot of young women around the world to fulfill their dreams in the scientific, political, economic, and cultural sectors.
All the photographs are collected from various online sources.
About the writer:
Nujhat Jahan likes to write on contemporary criminal and feminist issues with great passion. Her educational background in Criminology has given her a broad base from which to explore and evaluate several issues. She believes in bringing a positive change in the minds of the readers through her writings.