This week, we celebrate progress for women and honor the legacy of an incredible woman in power.
Here are all the inspiring women you should know about this week.
1. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern, who announced her resignation, showed the world throughout her five and a half years as prime minister that true leaders can be kind but strong – and know when it’s their time to go.
“I believe that leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have, but also one of the more challenging,” Ardern said. “You cannot and should not do it unless you have a full tank, plus a bit in reserve for those unexpected challenges.”
“I know what this job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It is that simple,” she added.
Ardern, who became the youngest world leader at age 37 in 2017, has led New Zealand through a terrorist attack, a major volcano eruption and the COVID-19 pandemic and is something of an international icon.
She had a daughter while she was in office – the second world leader to ever do so – then proceeded to make history by becoming the first world leader to take maternity leave and bringing her daughter to the United Nations.
She went onto gain widespread praise for her compassionate but firm response to the Christchurch terrorist attack in 2019, when a gunman opened fire in a mosque and killed 51 people.
“This has been the most fulfilling five and a half years of my life. But it has also had its challenges,” she said. “But I am not leaving because it was hard. I am leaving because with such a privileged role comes responsibility – the responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead, and also, when you are not.”
2. Women In Sierra Leone
Women in Sierra Leone saw the government approve a new law ensuring women get equal pay and hold at least 30% of both public and private jobs.
The law extends maternity leave from 12 weeks to 14 weeks and ensures women have equal access to training and credit and financial services.
Under the law, companies will be required to submit an annual report about its gender equality efforts.
Those found violating the law could be fined or even face prison time.
“The future of Sierra Leone is female,” President Julius Maada Bio said. “Empowering women is essential to the health and social development of families, communities and countries.”
3. Palestinian Pastor Sally Azar
Sally Azar made history after she was ordained as the first woman Palestinian pastor in Jerusalem by a Lutheran church. Her duties will include leading services, bible studies and all English-speaking congregations.
Her duties will include leading services, bible studies and all English-speaking congregations at the Church of the Redeemer, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), according to AP.
Ordained and inspired by her father, Azar studied theology and has always wanted to become a pastor.
Women hold only a small minority of church leadership, especially in Palestinian churches because most of the churches belong to denominations that don’t allow women clergy.