10 Young Women Politicians Who are Voices of Change

By: GWL Team | Friday, 7 April 2023

In recent years, women have made considerable progress in politics across the globe, from breaking down barriers to making their mark in fields that have historically been controlled by men. Women are increasingly playing significant roles in determining policies and decision-making processes, from MPs to ministers to local government officials.

In national parliaments worldwide, the average percentage of women was roughly 25.5%, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union's (IPU) 2021 report. This shows that, globally, women held, on average, around a quarter of the seats in national parliaments. There were, however, notable geographical differences, with some nations having larger or lower proportions of women in politics.

It's crucial to remember, that in many nations, progress has been achieved in boosting women's political engagement. In an effort to increase women's political representation and engagement, measures such as gender quotas, legislative reforms, lobbying campaigns, and capacity-building projects have been put in place.

Furthermore, global momentum has grown for women's activism and advocacy for gender equality in politics, resulting in good change and advancing women's empowerment in the political sphere. A good amount of this change has been facilitated by the ‘young-guns’.

Young women politicians have defied the sexist and ageist nature of the political landscape to emerge as change-makers across geographies. Let's take a look at some of the youngest yet most impactful female politicians from across the world.

Sanna Marin- Finland

Sanna Marin is a Finnish politician who is currently serving as the Prime Minister of Finland. She was born on November 16, 1985, in Helsinki, Finland. She is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Finland. Sanna’s political career began in her teens when she joined the Social Democratic Youth Organization and later served as its first vice president. She was elected to the City Council of Tampere, in 2012, and became the council's chair in 2013.

In 2014, Sanna was elected in Finnish Parliament, becoming the youngest member of parliament at that time. She has also been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality. Under her leadership, Finland has taken steps towards achieving carbon neutrality, increasing social welfare benefits, and promoting gender equality in the workplace.

Jacinda Ardern- New Zealand

A well-known young woman politician who served as New Zealand's prime minister is Jacinda Ardern. She was born in Hamilton, New Zealand, on July 26, 1980. Jacinda is a part of the Labour Party of New Zealand.

Early in her 20s, Jacinda began her political career by joining the New Zealand Labour Party. She later served as former Prime Minister Helen Clark's policy assistant. After being chosen as a Member of Parliament (MP) in 2008, she has held a number of positions within the Labour Party, including that of Deputy Leader. At the age of 37, she was appointed prime minister of New Zealand in October 2017. In 2020, she was re-elected to be prime minister.

Kaja Kallas- Estonia

The Estonian Prime Minister at the moment is Kaja Kallas. On June 18, 1977, she was born in Tallinn, Estonia. Kaja belongs to the Reform Party, a liberal political organisation in Estonia. Kaja's political career began when she joined the Reform Party in the early 2000s. From 2009 to 2014, she was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

In 2015, she won a seat in the Riigikogu, the Estonian parliament. With her appointment as Estonia's first female prime minister in January 2021, 43-year-old Kaja Kallas became one of the youngest serving female leaders of state in the whole globe.

Ine Eriksen Søreide- Norway

Norway's current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Sreide, is a well-known young woman politician. At Norway's Bryne, she was born on May 2, 1976. The Conservative Party, a center-right political organisation in Norway, is where Ine Eriksen is a member.

Ine Eriksen joined the Conservative Party's youth wing in the early 2000s. From 2005 to 2013, she was a member of the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget). She held a number of positions, including deputy head of the party. Ine Eriksen was selected as Norway's first female defence minister in October 2013 and took office. Prior to her appointment as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in January 2018, she was the Minister of Defence.

Maja Gojković- Serbia

Politician Maja Gojkovi is the Speaker of the Serbian National Parliament at the moment. On April 22, 1963, she was born in Novi Sad, Serbia. Member of the Serbian Progressive Party is Maja. When Maja was the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's Minister of Justice in the 1990s, her political career officially got underway.

She later served twice as a member of the Serbian National Parliament, from 2014 to the present and from 2007 to 2012. Maja's dedication to parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, and European integration have served as the hallmarks of her political leadership. She has worked to advance changes in areas including the judiciary, human rights, and democratic government. She has been an advocate for Serbia's entry into the European Union (EU).

Nicola Sturgeon- Scotland

Young politician Nicola Sturgeon is the First Minister of Scotland at the moment. On July 19, 1970, she was born in Irvine, Scotland. Nicola is a Scottish National Party supporter (SNP). Nicola's political career began in the 1990s when she joined the SNP's youth wing. From 1999 until the present, she has been an MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament).

Nicola has also been actively involved in the Brexit talks and has worked to further Scotland's interests. Her election as Scotland's First Minister was viewed as a crucial turning point for gender equality in Scottish politics, encouraging more women to hold positions of power.

Katrin Jakobsdottir- Iceland

As Iceland's prime minister at the moment, Katrin Jakobsdottir is a politician. She was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, on February 1st, 1976. Katrin's political career started in the 2000s when she was elected to the Icelandic Althing in 2007 and has since served in that capacity. Katrin was chosen Iceland's prime minister in November 2017. She is in charge of a coalition administration made up of her Left-Green Movement party, the Independence Party, and the Progressive Party.

She was one of the youngest female leaders of state in the world at the time and the second woman to serve as prime minister of Iceland. In succeeding elections, she was re-elected as prime minister and has since held the position. Katrin Jakobsdottir, Iceland's Prime Minister, is in charge of directing the executive branch, establishing the country's policy agenda, and supervising the execution of those objectives.

Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui- UAE

Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui is the United Arab Emirates' Minister of State for Youth Affairs (UAE). The UAE's Abu Dhabi is where she was born on February 22, 1993. In her present position, she is in charge of encouraging young people to participate in different facets of UAE society. She has been an outspoken supporter of social inclusion, gender equality, and youth empowerment.

She has worked to solve the social and economic issues that young people in the UAE confront, promote youth engagement in decision-making processes. She has contributed to the advancement of the UAE's attempts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. She has held positions as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the UAE Embassy in the United States and Chairman of the UAE Gender Balance Council.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Politician Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, is now a representative in the US House of Representatives. She was born in New York, on October 13, 1989. The Democratic Party's Alexandria represents the 14th congressional district of New York, which covers a portion of the Bronx and Queens. When she defeated a 10-term incumbent in the Democratic primary election in 2018, she attracted widespread notice.

After winning the general election, she took office in January 2019 at the age of 29. Alexandria has been a vocal supporter of progressive causes as a member of Congress, including the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, etc. She participates on a number of committees, including the Financial Services Committee and the Oversight and Reform Committee.

Kemi Badenoch- UK

In the UK, Kemi Badenoch is now serving as a Member of Parliament (MP). She was born in Wimbledon, London, England, on January 2, 1980. Since 2017, Kemi, a Conservative Party member, has represented Saffron Walden in the House of Commons. Since September 2019, she has been the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, one of the several roles she has held within the UK government.

She is in charge of formulating policies pertaining to child welfare, early childhood education, special educational needs, and disabilities in this capacity. She held positions as director and associate director at a digital marketing firm and an investment bank, respectively. She has also participated in community service and advocacy for social causes, particularly advancing youth employment and educational possibilities.