To vote in our Elite 8 round, please go to the THE ELITE EIGHT page. These are all the women who were in our Government category.
Sonia Sotomayor –
Sotomayor is from the Bronx, NY. She graduated in 1976 from Princeton and moved onto Yale Law school shortly after. She passed her boards and went into a private practice and eventually made partner at Pavia & Harcourt. She was recognized because of her pro-bono work with the practice and, in 2009, she was nominated by Barack Obama for the Supreme Court and became the first Latina Supreme Court Justice and Lawyer in US History.
Madeleine Albright –
Madeleine Albright earned her B.A. with Honors in Political Science from Wellesley College and earned her Master’s degree and Doctorate from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government. She eventually became a part of President Clinton’s cabinet and also served as a permanent representative to the United Nations. She was then recommended by President Clinton to become the Secretary of State. Albright was the first female Secretary of State and the highest ranking female in the US Government.
Johanna Sigurdardottir –
Starting off as a flight attendant for Icelandic Airlines, Johanna Sigurdardottir eventually served, twice, on the chairman of the board of the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association. She then gained a reputation as an advocate for social justice, and she called for the strengthening of Iceland’s welfare system. She became the minister of social affairs in 1987 until 1994. In 2009, Sigurdardottir became the first female Prime Minister of Iceland. She is also the first openly gay head of government in the world.
Soong Ching-ling –
Soong Ching-ling was the second wife to the Chinese revolutionary leader, Sun Yat-Sen. After his death, she became an extremely influential person in the Chinese republic. She became the Vice President of China in the new government and represented China in many international activities during the 1950s. At the end of her life, she was given the honorary title of the President of the People’s Republic of China.
Sandra Day O’Connor –
O’Connor was the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court ever in US History. This wasn’t her only success throughout her life, but probably the best well known. She was incredibly smart from a young age to the point that she was admitted to Standford University at sixteen years old, where she earned a B.A. in Economics. She started at Stanford Law in 1950. From there, she eventually became a Supreme Court Justice.
Habiba Sarobi –
Sarobi’s most well known accomplishment was that she was the first woman in Afghanistan to become a governor. In a state where, just a few years earlier, women had very little rights. She was formerly the minister for women’s affairs and she turned down an ambassadorial job. She demanded to have the governor’s post from President Hamid Karzai, instead.
Sadako Ogata –
Sadako Ogata, a Japanese academic, author and professor at Sophia University, has been a very influential woman in the world, especially with the United Nations. She was asked ,in 1991, to become the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, which she stayed until 2000. Before this, she wsa the President of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. In 2003, she took the position of the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Hatsepshut was the first female ruler of Egypt. She reigned as a male as the first female Pharaoh. Her name means “Foremost of Noble Women.” She was the daughter of kind Thutmose I and became the queen of Egypt after she married her half-brother, Thutmose II, at around 12 years old. She was the third woman to become pharaoh in Ancient Egypt in 3,000 years, but the first to obtain the full power of being a pharaoh.
Shirley Chisholm –
Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman to be elected to congress in 1972. Also, she was also the first black woman from a major political party to run for president. In addition to her political expertise, Shirley showed a great deal of interest in childhood studies, she is known as an expert in the field. Shirley once said “I want history to remember not just as the first Black Woman to be elected to congress, not as the first Black Woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a Black Woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself.”
Angela Merkel –
Angela Merkel is a German Politician, who is also the current Chancellor of Germany. She is the first woman to hold this position in Germany. Prior to her work in politics, Angela showed a great deal of interest in research science with a doctorate in physical chemistry. She first entered the political field after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Merkel also joined the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) political party and soon after was appointed to Helmut Kohl’s cabinet as minister for women and youth and later served as minister for the environment and nuclear safety. From there Merkel continued in the political field rising up to Chancellor of Germany.
Hillary Clinton –
Hillary Clinton is a well-known American Politician and the 67th Secretary of the United States. Following her role as Secretary, Clinton ran for the presidency in both 2008 and 2016. In addition to her own advances in politics, Clinton was also the first lady of Bill Clinton during his presidency. While serving as the first lady, Clinton fought for for gender equality and healthcare reform policies. As a child Clinton had an interest in the United States role in the Space Race; consequently she wrote a letter to NASA inquiring about how she can become an astronaut, only to receive a response that read, “No women are accepted to the program.” Since Clinton has held a specific interest in equality; therefore, at the Fourth World Conference on Women, Clinton said, “If there is one message that echoes from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s right and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf –
Ellen is the 24th and current President of Liberia; she has been in office since 2006. Prior to her role in the government, Ellen attended school in the United States. While in America, Johnson Sirleaf earned degrees in Business, Economics, and a masters degree in Public Administration. Upon returning to Liberia, she was exiled in 1980; however once again in 1985 she spoke out against the military regime. In 2005 she was elected, thus becoming the first female elected head of state in Africa. In addition to the honor of becoming the first female head of state, she was also one of three women who were awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.
Denise Juneau –
Denise Juneau is a democratic politician from Oakland, California. After earning her Master’s Degree in Education at the Harvard Graduate of Education, Juneau eventually became the Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2008. This made her the first Native American to be voted into a statewide office. She is a descendant of the Blackfeet tribe.
Condoleezza Rice –
Condoleezza Rice is an American diplomat and political scientist. She was the 66th Secretary of State, serving during the Bush Administration. This made her the first African American woman to become Secretary of State in US History. Before this, she was a political science professor at Stanford University.
Indira Gandhi –
Indira Gandhi is an Indian Politician and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party. She is the daughter of India’s first prime minister, and is the first and only female Prime Minister of India, since the mid 1960’s when her father who held the position passed away. Indira attended various schools including schools in India, Switzerland, and England. She became a very popular leader due to her efforts in revitalizing the farming industry, which in turn granted her reelection in 1980. However, she was assassinated in 1984 by two of her bodyguards due to conflict in government.
Golda Meir –
Golda Meir was the fourth Prime Minister of Israel, being the first woman to hold the title. Prior to her position as Prime Minister, Golda held various positions in Israel’s government including Minister of Labor and Foreign Minister. In 1969 she was appointed to be Prime Minister, making her the third woman in the world to hold that title. In her younger years, she had conflicts with her parents because they wanted her to marry while she wanted to pursue her career and make advancements in teaching. Consequently, Meir was able to successfully make both parties happy; she married and in addition became a teacher.