During his first week in office, President Donald Trump signed a series of controversial executive orders. One of them, which reinstates the “global gag rule,” blocks U.S. funds to any foreign organization that provides abortions or even offers information on abortions. It’s contentious not only because experts say it will have a negative impact on the health of millions of women and girls around the world, but because the president was photographed signing the orders surrounded only by men. Two weeks later, a similar photo appeared on social media [above], but this time a woman, Sweden’s deputy prime minister and climate minister, Isabella Lövin, was seated before an official document, flanked by a group of women colleagues. She was signing a bill to make Sweden carbon-neutral by 2045, addressing the issue of climate change, something the American president has called a hoax invented by the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.
This powerful image inspired us to take a look at some of the women working to effect positive change in the political realm. This is not a list of the most powerful women in government, nor is it exhaustive. It merely serves as an introduction to some of the women around the world who are actively promoting women’s rights, protecting the climate, standing up for the dispossessed, or simply being positive role models. In honor of International Women’s Day, whose theme this year is achieving gender equality by 2030, we present 13 female politicians you need to know.