Political Powerhouses: Aja Brown

In 2013 Aja Brown made history when she became the youngest woman elected as Mayor of Compton, California. Just last week she was re-elected for a second term. Aja was born in Altadena, California but she has strong roots to Compton. Her mother was born there and, tragically, in the 1970s her grandmother was raped and murdered in her Compton home. To this day no one has been arrested for this crime. Aja received a full scholarship to the University of Southern California. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Policy, Planning and Development in 2004 and she went on to earn a master’s...

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Political Powerhouses: Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi was born into politics. Her father was the well known independence General Aung San, who was assassinated when she was only two years old. Her mother was also involved in politics, serving as the first Minister of Social Welfare and Myanmar’s (then Burma) ambassador to India. Suu Kyi herself studied economics, politics and philosophy at Oxford University in London. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s she lived in a number of different countries with her husband and children. She returned to Burma in 1988 to care for her ill mother. At this time the country was under the...

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Political Powerhouses: Sheikh Hasina

Sheikh Hasina Wazed was born into a political family. Her father was one of the key organisers of the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971. She herself became involved in politics while studying at Dhaka University and worked as her father’s liaison while he was in prison. In 1975 her father and three brothers were assassinated; afterwards, she spent six years living in exile in India. She returned to Bangladesh in 1981 where she became more vocal in the political world, and was elected the President of the Bangladesh Awami League. She worked throughout the 1980s to secure basic...

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Political Powerhouses: Golda Meir

Golda Meir was born in the Ukraine but when she was eight years old her family moved to the United States. It was during her time living in the U.S. that she became a committed Zionist (a person who supports the re-establishment of the Jewish nation in Israel today). Following her marriage she moved to Palestine where she had two children. Her political activism first drew widespread attention during World War II. She argued there should be increased Jewish immigration considering what was happening to the Jewish population all over Europe at the time. In 1948 she was one of the signatories...

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Political Powerhouses: Caroline Kennedy

Having a surname that is known the world over can certainly have its advantages; it can also however come with a lot of pressure, expectations and assumptions. Caroline Kennedy has chosen to ignore the downsides of being a part of a political dynasty and has herself entered politics. And despite it being four years away she is reportedly aiming for a seat in the White House. Caroline Kennedy spent the first few years of her life in the White House before her father’s assassination. After, her mother, Jackie Kennedy, worked tirelessly to protect her children from the media spotlight. They...

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Political Powerhouses: Park Geun-Hye

Park Geun-Hye was the first woman to be elected as President of South Korea. She held this position from 2013 to 2016 when a scandal led to her downfall. She is the daughter of the former President of South Korea Park Chung-Hee. She suffered great personal loss when both of her parents were assassinated within five years of each other in the 1970s. Following the death of her mother she fulfilled the role of First Lady until her father’s death in 1979. After this she decided to stay in politics. In 2004 she was named as the chairwoman of the Grand National Party (GNP). In this role she...

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Political Powerhouses: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

In 2007 Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner made history when she became only the second woman to be elected President of Argentina. She was the first woman in the country to be directly elected as President, and the first to serve a second term. Cristina ran a law practice with her husband before entering politics in 1983. She was elected to the provincial legislature in 1987 before serving four years as the First Lady of Santa Cruz after her husband was elected governor. She herself was elected to the Argentine Senate for the first time in 1995. She was re-elected in 2001 but in 2003 her...

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Political Powerhouses: Margaret Thatcher

One of the most well known and controversial female politicians is Margaret Thatcher. She made history in 1978 when she was elected the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain. She went on to serve three terms as Prime Minister and during this time the policies she implemented earned her the nickname ‘The Iron Lady’. She was introduced to politics by her father, a member of the Conservative party. She studied chemistry at Oxford, where she was the president of the Conservative Association at the university. She went on to work as a research chemist. In the early 1950s she made a couple...

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Political Powerhouses: Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland

Gro Harlem Brundtland has had a long and varied career. She began as a doctor before entering politics. She went on to serve three terms as Prime Minister of Norway before turning her focus to environmental issues. She earned her medical degree from the University of Oslo in 1963 and two years later she graduated with a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. She then went on to work in the public school health service in Oslo. Her interest in politics began at a young age when her parents signed her up as a member of the Norwegian Labour Movement in the children’s section....

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Political Powerhouses: Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi served as the third Prime Minister of India for a total of 13 years. She is also the only woman, as of today, to hold the position. She was born in 1917 and her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, would go on to become the first Prime Minister of India. She was educated in India, England and Switzerland and at a young age had to deal with the loss of her parents (her father endured numerous terms in prison as one of the leaders in the India Independence Movement and her mother died when Indira was 19). When her father became Prime Minister of India in 1947 she would go on to become his...

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