Women are taking their role as leaders seriously, and the face of progress is evident on a global scale … finally
As we head into what is undoubtedly the biggest push for women in positions of leadership and government we’ve ever seen, it’s time to pause and celebrate the mass achievements we’ve achieved. Together let’s unite to uplift and provide all women a platform to use their voices and raise one another up. Below is a glimpse at some of the truly massive strides women have been in the last four years in spite of an oppressive mindset that was cast out like toxic waste.
Cover Photo Credit: @JackieWaldrop
WTO Takes Steps to Bridge Divides
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Makes History As WTO’s First African And Female Leader
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former two-time Nigerian finance minister, was appointed Monday to be the next director-general of the World Trade Organization. She is the first African and the first woman to lead the body, which governs trade rules between nations.
“This is a very significant moment for the WTO,” David Walker, the WTO’s General Council chair, said in a statement. Okonjo-Iweala said she was “honoured” to be selected to lead the organization, and vowed to take on global economic and health challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. CLICK FOR MORE
Dr. Shirley Weber Makes History
Forging a new path forward as the first Black Secretary of State in California history
Dr. Shirley Weber was sworn in as California’s new secretary of state, making history as the state’s first Black Secretary of State, Politico reports.
Weber is a San Diego Democrat and former professor of Africana Studies at San Diego State University, where she served for more than four decades. During that time, she spearheaded the push for low-income students of color to have opportunities in the legislature. She eventually led the California Legislative Black Caucus in its last two-year session, while introducing a bill that passed last October that clears the path for reparations in California. She is also the author of a 2019 law redefining the procedure for law enforcement related to the use of deadly force. CLICK FOR MORE
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY FIVETHIRTYEIGHT / GETTY IMAGES
The Vice President, and Cabinet Picks of top-level appointees
Vice President of the United States
Kamala Harris, in full Kamala Devi Harris, (born October 20, 1964, Oakland, California, U.S.), is an American politician who was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2016 and began her first term representing California in that body the following year. She was the first Indian American to serve as a U.S. senator as well as the second African American woman. Harris previously was the state’s attorney general (2011–17). In November 2020, she was elected Vice President of the United States on a ticket with Joe Biden.
Her father, who was Jamaican, taught at Stanford University, and her mother, the daughter of an Indian diplomat, was a cancer researcher. Her younger sister, Maya, later became a public policy advocate. After studying Political Science and Economics (B.A., 1986) at Howard University, Kamala earned a law degree (1989) from Hastings College. Click for more
Janet Yellen, in full Janet Louise Yellen, (born August 13, 1946, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.), is an American economist and chair (2014–18) of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“the Fed”), the central bank of the United States. She was the first woman to hold that post.
Yellen graduated summa cum laude in Economics from Brown University (1967) and received a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University (1971). She then served as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Harvard University until 1976. From 1977–78 she worked as an economist for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and from 1978–80 she served as a lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 1980, Yellen joined the faculty of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, where she conducted research and taught macroeconomics at all levels, receiving numerous teaching awards. She was appointed Bernard T. Rocca, Jr. Professor of International Business and Trade in 1992 and Eugene E. and Catherine M. Trefethen Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Economics in 1999. She subsequently became professor emeritus at the Haas School of Business. Click for more
Director of National Intelligence
Avril Haines is a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University, Deputy Director of Columbia World Projects, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. She additionally serves as a Member of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. Avril serves on a number of boards and advisory groups, including the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s Bio Advisory Group, the Board of Trustees for the Vodafone Foundation and the Refugees International Policy Advisory Council.
Prior to joining Columbia University, Avril served as Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. She chaired the Deputies Committee, the administration’s principal forum for formulating national security and foreign policy. Before that, she served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Avril also held a number of senior legal positions in the government, including Legal Adviser to the National Security Council. Avril received her bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Click for more
Secretary of Health
Rachel Levine: President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
A pediatrician and former Pennsylvania physician general, Levine was appointed to her current post by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017, making her one of the few transgender people serving in elected or appointed positions nationwide. She won past confirmation by the Republican-majority Pennsylvania Senate and has emerged as the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Click for more
Department of Commerce
Gina Marie Raimondo ( born May 17, 1971) is an American politician and venture capitalist who has been the 75th Governor of Rhode Island since 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the first woman to serve as Governor of Rhode Island. Before her election, she served as general treasurer of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015 and was the second woman to hold that office. She was selected as the Democratic candidate for Rhode Island’s governorship in the 2014 election. Raimondo won the election on November 4, 2014, with 41% of the vote, in a three-way race, against the mayor of Cranston, Republican Allan Fung, and businessman Robert Healey. She won re-election on November 6, 2018.
On January 7, 2021, it was reported that President-elect Joe Biden had selected Raimondo to serve as the United States Secretary of Commerce in the upcoming Biden administration. Click for more
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Marcia Louise Fudge (born October 29, 1952) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 11th congressional district since 2008. A member of the Democratic Party, she won the 2008 special election uncontested, succeeding Stephanie Tubbs Jones who died in office. Fudge was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in the 113th Congress. President-elect Joe Biden nominated Fudge as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the incoming Biden administration. She is a committed public servant who brings a hard-working, problem-solving spirit to Congress and to the task of creating jobs, protecting safety net programs and improving access to quality public education, health care and healthy foods. First elected in 2008, she represents the people of the 11th Congressional District of Ohio.
Congresswoman Fudge serves on the Committee on House Administration, House Committee on Agriculture and House Committee on Education and Labor. She is the Chair of the Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Elections and Chair of the Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations. She serves on the Subcommittees on Conservation and Forestry (Agriculture), Civil Rights and Human Services (Education & Labor) and Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (Education & Labor). Click for more
Department of the Interior
Debra Anne Haaland (born December 2, 1960) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative from New Mexico’s 1st congressional district since 2019. The district includes most of Albuquerque, along with most of its suburbs. Haaland is a former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. Along with Sharice Davids, she is one of the first two Native American women elected to the U.S. Congress. Haaland is an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo and a 35th-generation New Mexican. Haaland is a political progressive who supports the movements to abolish ICE and to implement the Green New Deal and Medicare For All.
On December 17, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he would nominate Haaland to serve as United States Secretary of the Interior. If confirmed, she would become the first Native American to run the Department of the Interior, and the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. Click for more
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Neera Tanden (born 1970) is an American political consultant and former government official. She is the president of the Center for American Progress, where she has served in different capacities since 2003.
Tanden has worked on several Democratic presidential campaigns, including those of Michael Dukakis in 1988, Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008. Tanden advised Hillary Clinton’s successful 2016 primary campaign and unsuccessful 2016 general election campaign. She was also a senior staffer on Clinton’s unsuccessful campaign for the 2008 Democratic nomination. During the Obama administration, Tanden helped draft the Affordable Care Act.
On November 30, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he would nominate Tanden as the next Director of the Office of Management and Budget, subject to Senate approval. Click for more
Department of Energy
Jennifer Mulhern Granholm (born February 5, 1959) is a Canadian-born American politician, lawyer, educator, author and political commentator.
A member of the Democratic Party, she was Attorney General of Michigan from 1999 to 2003 and the 47th governor of Michigan from 2003 to 2011. She was the first woman to serve as Michigan’s governor. In January 2017, she was hired as a CNN political contributor.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Granholm moved from Canada to California at age four. She graduated from San Carlos High School and briefly attempted an acting career, then held a variety of jobs before attending the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1984 and then a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She then clerked for Judge Damon Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, became an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1991, and in 1995 she was appointed to the Wayne County Corporation Counsel. Click for more
Black Women Have Been Important Party and Electoral Organizers for a Century
by Alison M. Parker in History News Network
Today, Black women’s influence in political campaigns is visible and dramatic. In recent presidential and midterm elections, over 90% of Black women’s votes went to the Democratic candidates. Preliminary figures for the 2020 presidential election indicate that the Biden/Harris ticket received approximately 55% of women’s votes, but over 90% of Black women’s votes. Not only did Black women vote in 2020, but they also registered others, organized get-out-the-vote drives and fought widespread and varied voter suppression measures. Despite the recent concerted efforts of white domestic terrorist insurrectionists, they have put Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House. CLICK FOR MORE
She’s the face of NC’s fight against COVID-19. Meet Dr. Mandy Cohen, Tar Heel of the Year
By Andrew Carter in The News & Observer
Cohen is The News & Observer’s 2020 Tar Heel of the Year, an honor that recognizes a North Carolina resident who has made lasting and significant contributions in the state and beyond. In the longest of years, one defined by the pandemic and by how world leaders and common citizens have responded to it, Cohen has become the figurative and literal face of North Carolina’s ongoing fight against COVID-19.
It is a fight in which she’s relied most upon data and science and something less easily quantified: the sense of empathy and compassion that some closest to her say make her a perfect fit for her position. It is a fight that’s challenged her to balance competing interests — one that at times has brought fierce criticism from skeptics who dismiss science or downplay the virus — while maintaining the goal of preserving the health and lives of North Carolinians. CLICK FOR MORE
Poetry, Justice, and Strong Female Voices
by Ron Charles in the Washington Post BOOK Club
Poetic justice: Louise Glück won the Nobel Prize in literature yesterday (story and video).
The Swedish Academy cited the “austere beauty” of her poetry. Glück, already one of the most celebrated writers in America, is the 16th woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature since it was first awarded in 1901. The chair of the prize committee, Anders Olsson, said, “Glück’s voice is unmistakable. It is candid and uncompromising, and it signals that this poet wants to be understood — but it is also a voice full of humor and biting wit.”
News that Glück had won the Nobel prize — worth about $1,125,000 — was celebrated by her colleagues and fellow poets. Billy Collins told me, “Glück has found a way in language to delicately blend intelligence and lyricism. Most poets fall either to one side or the other. Besides the well-deserved personal recognition, this is a great moment for American poetry.” Jonathan Galassi, Glück’s editor at FSG, said in a statement, “Glück is one of the rare contemporary poets whose work has the power to speak directly to others through her great and subtle art. It’s wonderful to have her astringent, witty, profoundly human voice, a voice that so richly reflects our own inner feelings and reactions, so broadly recognized.” She is currently working on a collection called “Winter Recipes from the Collective,” which will be published in 2021. The title poem appeared in the American Scholar last year (poem).
If you’re new to Glück — or a fan — get the collected volume titled, simply, “Poems 1962-2012.” (It’s currently sold out everywhere that I can see, but yesterday FSG announced plans to fire up a reprint.) Reviewing the collection for The Washington Post, Steven Ratiner wrote, “Though Glück lays bare the most intimate moments of longing and loss, these poems are not what we think of as confessional. They are more like the record of a shipwreck survivor trying to come to terms with the strain of isolation and the stark horizon of her island. Language is the castaway’s only refuge” (review).
In this age of Instagram poets, Glück is a literary giant who avoids the spotlight. She once told The Post, “I have very little taste for public forums” (story). But she is now one of just two living American writers who have won the Nobel Prize in literature. The other is Bob Dylan (rant). What’s more, Thursday’s announcement honoring this universally revered poet may finally allow the Nobel committee to move beyond a series of horrendous scandals (the skinny).
A tool for rewriting the code of life.
Award winner of THE NOBEL PRIZE
Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna are awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 for discovering one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. Researchers can use these to change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This technology has revolutionised the molecular life sciences, brought new opportunities for plant breeding, is contributing to innovative cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.
One of the attractions of science is that it is unpredictable – you can never know in advance where an idea or a question may lead. Sometimes a curious mind will meet a dead end, sometimes it will encounter a thorny labyrinth that takes years to navigate. But, now and again, she realizes she is the first person ever to gaze upon a horizon of untold possibility.
The gene editor called CRISPR-Cas9 is one such unexpected discovery with breathtaking potential. When Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna started investigating the immune system of a Streptococcus bacterium, one idea was that they could perhaps develop a new form of antibiotic. Instead, they discovered a molecular tool that can be used to make precise incisions in genetic material, making it possible to easily change the code of life. CLICK FOR MORE >