5 women who broke men’s political monopoly in 2015

"Politics is a man’s world." But that’s not always the case. 

Meet the five ladies who broke man’s political monopoly in 2015, and even before, by demonstrating over the years their great leadership and significant decision-making skills.

Angela Merkel: The Strong Chancellor

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Credit: Econotimes.com

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Credit: Econotimes.com

“I might bend, but I will never break because it’s in my nature as a strong woman.”

The year 2015 marked the start of Merkel’s 10th year as Chancellor of Germany. She was named “Person of the Year” by Time Magazine in its annual promotional issue. Merkel faced some of the most pressing issues in Europe this year: she confronted Russia over its involvement in Ukraine, played an essential role in the dangerous financial showdown between Greece and European creditors and prepared Germany to absorb more than a million refugees and migrants.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: The Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Credit: Aljazeera.com

Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Credit: Aljazeera.com

“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams don't scare you, they are not big enough.”

Sirleaf is the world's first elected black female president, Africa's first elected female head of state and the first woman to be elected president of Liberia. She earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her peaceful methods of fighting for women’s rights, and shared her Nobel with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakel Karman, "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peacebuilding work."

Dilma Rousseff: Brazil’s Iron Lady

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff. Credit: Acritica.uol.com.br

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff. Credit: Acritica.uol.com.br

“I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say 'yes, women can.'”

The first woman to be elected President of Brazil, Rousseff has earned a formidable reputation through her administration's record of investigating corruption claims and firing several ministers over corruption allegations. Although she initially dreamed of being a ballerina, she decided to join the left-wing movement against Brazil's military dictatorship which had seized power in 1964.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner: Queen CFK

Former Argentina President Cristina Kirchner. Credit: Tn.com.ar

Former Argentina President Cristina Kirchner. Credit: Tn.com.ar

“Empowering women should not be just a matter of obligation, but a personal conviction by men and us.”

The first woman to be elected president in Argentina and the first woman re-elected, CFK broke the cycle of male dictators in South America and stayed in power from 2007 to 2015. Argentina’s ex-president has been a controversial leader and proven her worth with solid knowledge of governmental and political issues.

Sheikh Hasina Wazed: The Survivor

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina. Credit: Sojho.com

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina. Credit: Sojho.com

“I do politics for the people.”

Bangladesh politics is notoriously male-dominated, even though Wazed, the 63-year-old current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, has ruled since January 2009 and been leader of the Awami League since 1981. Wazed has a history of surviving. During a 1975 coup d'état, assassins killed 17 members of her family, including her son, three brothers and parents. She later survived a grenade attack that killed more than 20 people.

Cover photo credit: ichef.bbci.co.uk