• Institute for a Greater Europe

International Women’s Day 2022: Women in Politics - 2 Profiles

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

By Valentina Koumoulou

Women in politics has always been a topic that created tensions among politicians, given that the power that follows these positions is viewed as ‘dangerous’ in the hands of a woman. Even today, in 2022, women throughout the world in the political arena are being scrutinized by not only the public but also their colleagues, each and everyone waiting for one wrong step to devour their careers.

One of the names of today’s women in politics that has attracted the strongest criticism even within their theoretically political allies, is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever to serve in the House of Representatives at the age of 29[1]. She belongs to the Democratic Party in the USA, representing parts of Queens and the Bronx, two of the most tension creating places in the district of New York, trying to bring change and inspiration where it might seem more difficult to be found[2]. Moreover, her campaigning for issues includes among others, “Medicare for All”, the “Green New Deal”, LGBTQ+ rights, and student-loan cancellation, topics that not only focus on today but they prepare the world for better chances in the future[3].

More importantly, she belongs to the generation that is mostly affected by previous economic crises, climate change, an ongoing pandemic as well as continuous security threats, and she understands how to respond. Her way of using social media platforms is brilliant and significantly inclusive, something that truly inspires more and more young people to get involved in the serious discussion of building the future. That is why, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as she is referred to by her followers and supporters, deserves to be portrayed as a Woman in Politics to watch in 2022.


[1] Remnick, David. 2022. “Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez An Insider Now?”. The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/is-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-an-insider-now. [2] Mercado, Angely. 2019. “A Look Back At Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Momentous First Year In Congress”. Remezcla. https://remezcla.com/lists/culture/alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-historic-first-year-congress/. [3] Remnick, David. 2022. “Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez An Insider Now?”. The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/is-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-an-insider-now.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike

By Lei Nguyen

Sirima Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike, known professionally as Sirimavo Bandaranaike, is a Sri Lankan politician. Sirimavo has the suffix 'vo,' which means ‘respect.' She is the world's first female Prime Minister. She created history when her party won the general election in Ceylon in 1960 and elected her as the country's new Prime Minister. She returned as Prime Minister for two more terms, from 1970 to 1977 and 1994 to 2000. She was the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party for many years.

She entered politics after her husband, former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Solomon Bandaranaike, was assassinated in September 1959. For decades, her family had a major place in Sri Lankan politics. Her daughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga, is Sri Lanka's fourth Executive President, while her son, Anura Bandaranaike, is the Speaker of the National Assembly and a cabinet minister.

She actively participated in non-aligned conferences and drew her country closer to the Soviet Union and China. In 1962, she again sought to arbitrate the India-China border dispute. In the same year, she thwarted a Christian-led military coup attempt and introduced William Gopallawa, her uncle and Ceylon's Governor-General. She and India's Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, signed the 'Sirimavo-Shastri Treaty or Agreement on People of Indian Origin in Ceylon' on October 30, 1964. It was a crucial agreement that impacted the fate of the people of Indian heritage living in Ceylon.

"History is full of examples of the disastrous consequences that came upon such nations that changed their constitutions by giving one man too much power."

"It was far from my mind to achieve any personal glory for myself when I assumed the leadership of the party at the request of its leaders."

"As a woman and mother, I call upon the nations of the world to desist from violence in their dealings with each other."

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