Sanna Marin became the head of government in 2019, at only 34 years old, becoming the youngest head of government in the world. In addition to her age, the fact that she is a woman was also a phenomenon – Marin being one of the very few leaders (five in total) in the European Union at the time she became prime minister.
In the last few years, many of the female names, which we have become accustomed to on the international political stage, are vacating this stage. Someone chooses to leave because they have nothing left to offer – the case of Jacinda Ardern, the former prime minister of New Zealand. Someone else resigns after a historic career, with good and, as it turned out later, bad – the case of Angela Merkel, who left the “cabinet” after 16 years at the head of Europe’s most powerful economy. In their place came the men, tipping the balance even more in their direction 130 years it takes to achieve gender equality in the highest positions of power.
These departures seem to become a trend, their visibility, however, is due, in part, to the exceptional presence effect created by the few women who reach the top of governments. They are so rare, that is, so scrutinized, observed, kept in the sights non-stop, that every move they make is automatically amplified by the fact that they are… women.
According to a Pew Research Center analysis, women are currently head of government in only 13 of the 193 United Nations member states, and less than a third of UN countries have ever had a female leader. However, there is a ray of light: globally, the number of countries that have had female heads of government has risen steadily since 1990.
Real success for women in politics will come when being a woman no longer has any relevance. When we will no longer look at the departure or arrival of women in power as something out of the ordinary. When the fact that a 30- or 90-year-old woman has become head of government or president of a country will no longer be news for other reasons than their male counterparts.
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