Despite seemingly constant attention being brought to it, politics seems to be an intrinsically male dominated field, with nearly 70% of UK politicians being men. In spite of this, recent female politicians have made huge impacts worldwide, with Theresa May and Marine Le Pen both reaching extreme prominent in European politics. In these examples though, we begin to see a pattern in that the more prominent, successful female politicians tend to be more right wing.
Of course, in today’s political world, May comes as the most obvious example of more right wing leadership. Since May’s election, she has pledged to scrap free school lunches and aims to cut net migration below 100,000, both notably right-wing policies among a generally conservative manifesto.
Historically, Thatcher is another prominent example of a right wing female politician, as the first female prime minister of the UK. Her controversial time in office undeniably impacted British politics, and she has become remembered for both her strict conservativism and uncompromising political style.
All this being said though, there are notable exceptions such as Hillary Clinton in the United States and Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand. Ardern has invested heavily in to areas ranging from healthcare to climate change, and in many ways is a model example of a left-wing politician. Furthermore, she has been open in her support of LGBTQIA people in New Zealand and has made significant efforts to support people facing discrimination due to mental illness.
Clinton also made similar backings during her run in the US presidential elections back in 2016, and despite receiving some backlash over past controversies, has managed to encourage over 20,000 women to run for public office in the United States.
Ultimately the lack of female politicians, regardless of political leaning remains a huge issue for many countries, and more should be done to help encourage women to get into politics. Quite apart from the fact that a more even male/female split in politics would emphasise gender equality, it has been shown that having women in positions of power creates improvements in a variety of areas including education, healthcare and employment.
Strong female leaders, regardless of political standing, are needed to act as role models for a growing generation, so that in the future, greater improvements can be made to enhance gender equality amongst other things on both local and global scales.