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A world of iconic women

For International Women’s Day, we asked you to nominate an iconic women who was born in the same country or island as you. Here’s the result – 51 flags!

Click on each flag to celebrate Guernsey’s diversity and see the amazing achievements of women in public life around the world. 

Did you enjoy our quiz?
Many congratulations to Juliana Le Prevost whose name was drawn out of the hat of correct entries for our iconic women quiz. She won a meal for four people at Muse, worth £100.

How many did you get right? The answers are below.

  1. How many women on the map were the first female president, prime minister or chancellor of their country?Answer: Seven. They are Mary Robinson, Ireland; Angela Merkel, Germany; Vaira-Vike Freiberga, Latvia; Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuania; Zuzana Čaputová, Slovakia; Julia Gillard, Australia; Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand.
  2. Who inspired generations with her efforts to make her country’s legal system fairer to all, particularly women? Answer: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, USA
  3. Who is the first woman to be appointed Director General at the World Trade Organisation? Answer: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria
  4. Who was her country’s first woman to be Air Marshal and to conduct scientific research in the Arctic? Answer: Dr Padmavathy Bandopadhyay, India
  5. Which country on the map ranks the highest in the global IPU rankings for the percentage of women in its national parliament? What position would Guernsey hold in the rankings? New Zealand ranks the highest, in 4th place with 48.3%. Guernsey would be 110th, with 21%.
Lebanon---Amal_Clooney

Amal Clooney - Lebanon

Nominated by: Christine Potter

Amal Clooney (née Alamuddin in 1978) is a Lebanese-born British barrister, specialising in international law and human rights. “She is inspirational for her multi-lingual skills and international experience (a true Lebanese!), her career as a human rights lawyer and particularly her fight for the recognition of the Armenian genocide in WW1.” With her husband George, she founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice to advance justice in courtrooms, communities, and classrooms around the world. 

Lebanon is ranked 183rd in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 4.7% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Lebanon? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Lebanon in Guernsey.

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miriam-makeba-SA

Miriam Makeba - South Africa

Nominated by: Christine James

Zenzile Miriam Makeba (1932 to 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. In 2020 she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 women of the century. 

South Africa is ranked 12th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 45.8% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from South Africa? Please email hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from South Africa in Guernsey.

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The original image “The Hague Jazz 2008 – Miriam Makeba” by Haags Uitburo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 

philippines

Angel Loscin - the Philippines

Nominated by: Hancyl Maglines

Angel Locsin (born 1985) is a TV and film actor, commercial model, film producer and fashion designer. One of the Philippines’ most prominent philanthropist actors, she was named as one of Forbes magazine’s “Asian Heroes of Philanthropy” in 2019. Forbes reported that Locsin had donated “as much as 15 million pesos to causes such as educational scholarships for students, supporting the economic and political rights of indigenous people, and ending violence against women and children”,

The Philippines is ranked 61st in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 28% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from the Philippines? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from the Philippines in Guernsey

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Photo credit: Gerry Edra CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

netherlands

Fanny Blankers-Koen - Netherlands

Nominated by: Grada Hek

Fanny Blankers-Koen (1918 to 2004) was a Dutch track and field athlete, best known for winning four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics. Competing as a 30-year-old mother of two, she was the most successful athlete at the event. In 1999, she was voted “Female Athlete of the Century” by the IAAF. Her Olympic victories helped to eliminate the belief that age and motherhood were barriers to success in women’s sport.

Other iconic women: Aletta Jacobs, physician and women’s suffrage activist, nominated by Jo Robinson; Ann Frank, diarist, nominated by Sonja Austin.

The Netherlands is ranked 41st in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 33.3% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from the Netherlands? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from the Netherlands in Guernsey.

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argentina

Alicia Moreau de Justo - Argentina

Nominated by: Mariana Enevoldsen

Alicia Moreau de Justo (1885 to 1986) was a woman ahead of her time. She qualified as a doctor in 1914 and became a leading figure of feminism, defending the rights of women in the workplace, their access to public health and education. In 1932 she drafted the first parliamentary bill to give women the right to vote and in 1975 co-founded a human rights organisation which campaigned against the abuses of the military dictatorship.

Other iconic women: astronomer Miriani Pastoriza, and poet Alfonsina Storni, both nominated by Andrea Guilbert.

Argentina is ranked 18th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 42.4% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Argentina? You may be interested in joining the group ‘La Pēna Latina’ – contact Maria Jose on mjose.fernandezj@gmail.com.

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chile2

Maria Teresa Ruiz - Chile

Nominated by: Maria Jose (Joey) Freeman

Maria Teresa Ruiz (born 1946) is a Chilean astronomer. The first woman to receive Chile’s National Prize for Exact Sciences, the first female doctor in astrophysics at Princeton, and the first woman president of the Chilean Academy of Sciences, she was listed in 2018 in the top 10 most powerful and influential women in Chile. She was inspired by her grandmother who told her Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you are a woman’.  

Chile is ranked 100th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 22.6% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Chile? You may be interested in joining the group ‘La Pēna Latina’ – contact Maria Jose on mjose.fernandezj@gmail.com. 

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scotland

Flora MacDonald - Scotland

Nominated by: Mabel Clooney

Flora MacDonald (1722 to 1790) was a Jacobite heroine who helped Prince Charles evade government troops after the Battle of Culloden in April 1746. “This might seem like a small thing, but the Jacobite movement was strong and to be a female in that situation would have taken more than just courage.” She was arrested and held in the Tower of London but released under a general amnesty in June 1747.

Other iconic women: The Edinburgh Seven, the first female students to study at any British university, also nominated by Mabel Clooney. Elsie Inglis, an innovative doctor and suffragist, nominated by Ina Steele.

The UK is ranked 39th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 33.9% (source: data.ipu.org).

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The original photo “Flora Macdonald” by keppochsregiment is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

jacinda-adern-2

Jacinda Ardern - New Zealand

Nominated by: Martin Lock

Jacinda Ardern (born 1980) has served as prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017. In 2019, she led the country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, rapidly introducing strict gun laws in response, and throughout 2020 she directed the country’s widely–praised response to the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘An inspiring Prime Minister who brought a nation together with true leadership, empathy and compassion.’

Other iconic New Zealand women:  Dame Whina Cooper, a pioneer for Maori women’s rights, nominated by Claire Fisher;  Kate Sheppard, who led the fight for NZ women to secure the vote, nominated by Anna Malcolm and Tania Shires;  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, celebrated opera singer, nominated by Chris Hickling;  and Jean Batten, a record-breaking aviator nominated by Johanna Herring and Janine Clarke.

New Zealand is ranked 4th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 48.3% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from New Zealand? You may be interested in joining the ANZACs in Guernsey Facebook group.

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usa

Ruth Bader Ginsburg - USA

Nominated by: Jennifer Strachan

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933 to 2020) inspired generations with her efforts to make the US legal system fairer to all, particularly women. Looking back at the laws she helped overturn, it is unbelievable how differently men and women were treated and how much has changed, often due to her clear legal arguments. Ginsburg was rewarded with a seat on the Supreme Court and was an effective and inspiring judge until she passed away. In her late 80’s her clear logic and sense of purpose inspired a new generation of youth.

The USA is ranked 67th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 27.3% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from the USA? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from the USA in Guernsey.

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ethiopia

Taytu Betul - Ethiopia

Nominated by: Teshale Gobena

Taytu Betul (c.1851 to 1918) was a formidable queen and empress of Ethiopia. The third wife of Emperor Menelik II, she founded Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa. She used her exceptional intelligence to strengthen and extend her power through an adroit blend of patronage, political marriages and leadership. Determined to resist imperialist designs on her country, she opposed any negotiations that would result in the loss of Ethiopian territory. When diplomacy gave way to war, she rode out at the head of her own army.

Ethiopia is ranked 31st in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 38.8% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Ethiopia? You may be interested in joining Guernsey Simba ngoma. Message Cathy on 07839 708726 or find it on Facebook.

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Photo credit: Alamy

greece

Alki Zei - Greece

Nominated by: Fay Panagiotakopoulou

Alki Zei (1925 to 2020) was a Greek novelist. Part of the Greek resistance during WW2, she was jailed and then exiled during the civil war that followed and was a political refugee during the dictatorship in the 70s. Her books introduce the most important parts of Greek modern history to children and adolescents, through her fascinating narrative ability. Her work has been translated into numerous languages and she has won prestigious awards. “A truly magnificent woman who fought throughout her life for freedom, social justice and democracy. As a child, I was lucky enough to meet her and her charisma and incredible strength has inspired me throughout my life.”

Greece is ranked 104th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 21.7% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Greece? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Greece in Guernsey.

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Photo credit: By Աղբյուր, Fair use, https://hy.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=992909.

Maria Isabel Urrutia Ocoró - Colombia

Nominated by: Maria Clara Soler

Maria Isabel won gold in weightlifting in Sydney Olympic games in 2000 at the age of 35. Her success opened the doors of this sport for women in Colombia. Despite opposition from her father, who believed weightlifting was detrimental to women, she followed her passion. Since her retirement from sport she has been active in social justice movements for women. In her words: “age is only a mental barrier, you only require passion to achieve whatever you wish.”

Unfortunately we were unable to obtain a freely reusable or affordable image of Maria Isabel to celebrate her nomination.

Colombia is ranked 122nd in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 18.8% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Columbia? You may be interested in joining the group ‘La Pēna Latina’ – contact Maria Jose on mjose.fernandezj@gmail.com

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egypt

Cleopatra - Egypt

Nominated by: Nana Awad

Cleopatra VII ruled ancient Egypt as for almost three decades, protecting it against the expansion of the Roman Empire until her death. Well-educated and clever, Cleopatra could speak up to nine languages. Her romantic liaisons and military alliances with the Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, as well as her supposed exotic beauty and powers of seduction, earned her an enduring place in history and popular myth.

Egypt is ranked 66th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 27.4% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Egypt? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Egypt in Guernsey.

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The original photo “Cleopatra VII” by Egisto Sani is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

lithuania

Dalia Grybauskaite - Lithuania

Nominated by: Goda Griskeviciute

Dalia Grybauskaitė, born in 1956 to a working-class family in Vilnius, was President of Lithuania from 2009 to 2019. The first woman to hold the position, she was also the first President to be re-elected for a second consecutive term. She served as European Commissioner for Financial Programming from 2004 to 2009 and is often referred to as the “Iron Lady” or the “Steel Magnolia”.

Other iconic Lithuanian women:  Inga Minelgaite, nominated by Jurate Limontaite .

Lithuania is ranked 63rd in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 27.7% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Lithuania in Guernsey.

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latvia

Vaira Vike-Freiberga - Latvia

Nominated by: Evita Bormane

Vaira VikeFreiberga (born 1937) served as the sixth President of Latvia from 1999 to 2007 and is the first woman to hold the post. A professor in psycholinguistics and semiotics, she has published 11 books and numerous articles. She played a big part in achieving Latvia’s membership of the EU and NATO. An inspirational leader, she has always fought for equality of women and social justice.  

Other iconic women: Baiba Braže, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, nominated by Lilita Kruze.

Latvia is ranked 57th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 29.0% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Latvia? You may be interested in the Facebook pages for the Guernsey Latvian Association or Latvians in Guernsey.

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Australia---Julia-Gillard

Julia Gillard - Australia

Nominated by: Tanya Richards-Pugh and Andrea Harris

Julia Gillard (born 1961) is the first and only woman to hold the positions of Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister and leader of a major party in Australia. She served as the country’s 27th Prime Minister from 2010 until 2013. Since leaving politics, her appointments include Inaugural Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at Kings College, London. Through research, practice and advocacy, GIWL addresses women’s under-representation in leadership, and the way gender negatively impacts the valuation of women leaders. 

Other iconic women: Sr Annette Cunliffe, nominated by Liz Taylor-Kerr and Simone Young, nominated by Kate Avery-Wright.

Australia is ranked 50th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 31.1% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Australia? You may be interested in joining the ANZACs in Guernsey Facebook group. 

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wales

Betty Campbell - Wales

Nominated by: Ruth Robinson

Betty Campbell (1934 to 2017) was born into poverty to Caribbean parents in the docklands of Cardiff. Highly intelligent, she won a scholarship to a prestigious girls’ school. She wanted to teach but was told it was not a path for a poor black girl. Undaunted, she qualified as a teacher and returned to the docklands to teach, eventually becoming Wales’ first black headmistress. She sat on the Commission for Racial Equality, helped develop Black History Month and the Welsh curriculum, all while leading an outstanding community school and raising four children of her own.

Other iconic women: Ruth Jones, actor and writer, nominated by Laura Fry.

The UK is ranked 39th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 33.9% (source: data.ipu.org).

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Photo credit: BBC Wales online.

bulgaria

Baba Vanga - Bulgaria

Nominated by: Iordanka Georgieva

Vangeliya Pandeva Gushterova (1911 to 1996), commonly known as Baba Vanga, was a Bulgarian mystic, clairvoyant, and herbalist. Blind since early childhood, she spent most of her life in the Kozhuh mountains in Bulgaria. It is claimed that she correctly predicted the rise of ISIS, Brexit and the 9/11 World Trade Centre attacks.

Bulgaria is ranked 69th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 27.1% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Bulgaria? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Bulgaria in Guernsey.

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The original photo “Vanga.jpg” originally by: User:Пакко is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

nigeria

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - Nigeria

Nominated by: Osato Agbotaen Olatunji

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (born 1958) is the first woman and the first African to be appointed as Director General at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). She also served two terms as the first female finance minister of Nigeria. On her first day at the WTO, 1 March 2021, she called for a “technology transfer” to developing countries when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines and for a deal to reduce overfishing. “We have to change our approach from debate and rounds of questions to delivering results,” she said.

Other iconic women: Mary Remmy-Njoku, actor and film producer, nominated by Chinwe Waterton.

Nigeria is ranked 180th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 5.8% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Nigeria? You may be interested in joining Guernsey Simba ngoma. Message Cathy on 07839 708726 or find it on Facebook.

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china

Peng Liyuan - China

Nominated by: Dongling Lin

Peng Liyuan (born 1962) is a Chinese contemporary folk singer married to Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. In 2014, Peng was listed as the 57th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. She promotes rural education in China and campaigns for the World Health Organisation against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. In 2014 she was appointed UNESCO Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls’ and Women’s Education.

China is ranked 86th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 24.9% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from China? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from China in Guernsey.

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Original photo by Angélica Rivera de Peña, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

italy

Emma Bonino - Italy

Nominated by: Anna-Lisa Detassis

Emma Bonino (born 1948) is one of the few women in Italian politics who has made a difference. She has been a minister, a European Parliament member, and a Senator. She made history with the Radical party, fighting for civil rights and individual liberty, divorce, legalisation of abortion and drugs. A philanthropist, she has won several awards. “A true innovator and adventurer in a male-dominated world.”

Italy is ranked 35th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 35.7% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Italy? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclfe.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Italy in Guernsey.

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The original image “Emma Bonino” by Marco Gentili is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 

uganda

Winnie Byanyima - Uganda

Nominated by: Rosette Nganwa

Winnie Byanyima (born 1959) is an aeronautical engineer, politician, and a leader on women’s rights, democratic governance, and peacebuilding. She is executive director of UNAIDS (the United Nations HIV/AIDS programme) and has served on several global forums, including chairing the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos, where she pressed for action to narrow the gap between rich and poor. She says, “Without women’s equal access to positions of decision-making power and a clear process to get there, gender equality, global security, and peace will never be realised.”

Uganda is ranked 37th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 34.9% (source: data.ipu.org)

Are you from Uganda? You may be interested in joining Guernsey Simba ngoma. Message Cathy on 07839 708726 or find it on Facebook.

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kenya

Wangari Maathai - Kenya

Nominated by: Cathy Wanyoike

Wangari Maathai (1940 to 2011) was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in 2004. She was an MP and founded the Green Belt Movement for tree planting, conservation, and women’s rights. The Nobel committee said, ‘Maathai stood up courageously against the former oppressive regime in Kenya. She has served as inspiration for many in the fight for democratic rights and has especially encouraged women to better their situation.’

Other iconic Kenyan women: Mercy Cherono nominated by Flozie Baker and Joyce Nyairo nominated by Anthony Athaide

Kenya is ranked 105th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 21.6% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Kenya? You may be interested in the Guernsey Simba ngoma Facebook page.

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The original image “Wangari Maathai” by Oregon State University is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

jamaica

Nanny of the Maroons - Jamaica

Nominated by: Ash Smith

Nanny of the Maroons (c. 1686 to 1755) was an 18th-century leader of the formerly enslaved Africans called the Windward Maroons who fought a guerrilla war over many years against British authorities in the colony of Jamaica . A small, wiry woman with piercing eyes, she led her people with courage, inspiring them to struggle to maintain the spirit of freedom, and life of independence, which was their rightful inheritance.

Other iconic women: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Olympic gold medallist sprinter, nominated by Matt Blake.

Jamaica is ranked 58th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 28.6% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Jamaica? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Jamaica in Guernsey.

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The original photo “Nanny of The Maroons” by Romana Correale is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

France----Simone-Veil

Simone Veil - France

Nominated by: Sandrine Reynaud

Simone Veil (1927 to 2017), lawyer, politician and feminist, served as Health Minister and was the first female President of the European Parliament. A Holocaust survivor, she is recognised for the legalisation of abortion and for improving the lives of women and the condition of women. She was certainly the strongest woman I ever heard speak, but always courteous, very intelligent and human.  She embodies people who achieve things by quiet determination and perseverance”.

Other iconic women:  singer-songwriter Edith Piaf, nominated by Juliana Chapellier; politician Christiane Taubira nominated by Anne-Isabelle Boulon.

France is ranked 27th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 39.5% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from France or enjoy French culture? You may be interested in the French social group hosted by Angela Fauci. Email fauci22@hotmail.com.

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russia

Valentina Tereshkova - Russia

Nominated by: Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller

Valentina Tereshkova (born 1937) is a member of the Russian State Duma, engineer, and former cosmonaut. She is the first and youngest woman to have flown in space with a solo mission on the Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963, orbiting the Earth 48 times and spending almost three days in space. She showed that women could do what was then regarded as the most state of the art, most demanding feat – going into space, solo.

Russia is ranked 138th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 15.8% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Russia? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Russia in Guernsey.

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The original photo “RIAN archive 612748 Valentina Tereshkova (3-4 crop).jpg” by Alexander Mokletsov / Александр Моклецов is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

czech

Martina Navratilova - Czech Republic

Nominated by: Martina Lenfestey

Martina Navratilova (born 1956) is a Czechoslovak-born American professional tennis player and coach and is considered one of the best female tennis players of all time. “She is a great and inspirational sportswoman, supporter of women and gay rights, who has overcome various adversities in her life”. Fellow tennis champion Chris Evert said “Martina revolutionized the game by her superb athleticism and aggressiveness … She brought athleticism to a whole new level with her training techniques.”

Other iconic women: Milada Horakova, World War II resistance hero, nominated by Misha Adamcova.

The Czech Republic is ranked 94th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 23.0% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from the Czech Republic? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Czech in Guernsey.

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The original photo “Martina Navratilova” by Andrew Campbell Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

brazil

Isabel, Princess Imperial - Brazil

Nominated by: Silvia Varela Richards

The most famous Brazilian woman in history, Princess Isabel (1846 to 1921) was made Regent in her father’s absence. She passed legislation to abolish slavery, confronting rich and influential people and leading to the end of the monarchy in Brazil. She said it had been worth it to abolish slavery. As a woman she was deemed unsuitable to rule. She did it anyway while coping with several miscarriages and bringing up her disabled son.

Brazil is ranked 142nd in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 15.2% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Brazil? You may be interested in joining the group ‘La Pēna Latina’ – contact Maria Jose on mjose.fernandezj@gmail.com

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Original photo by Insley Pacheco (1830-1912), public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

england

Baroness Hale - England

Nominated by: Sarah Hutchinson

Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond (born 1945), was the first female President of the UK’s Supreme Court, and is a strong proponent of the importance of women’s representation in public life. “She has had a most distinguished career but has kept her Yorkshire home close to her heart, participating in events to inspire other women in the legal profession and more widely. Several of my colleagues have been fortunate enough to have met her and described her as a truly inspiring woman.”

Other iconic womenHM the Queen, nominated by Karen Jaggers; JK Rowling, author and philanthropist, nominated by Laura Bevis; Elizabeth Pease Nichol, 19th century abolitionist and suffragist, nominated by Caroline Allisette; Jo Cox,  politician and campaigner, nominated by Carol Le Page.

The UK is ranked 39th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 33.9% (source: data.ipu.org) 

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The original photo “File:Baroness Hale of Richmond 2019.jpg” by Cambridge Law Faculty is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

zimbabwe

Fadzayi Mahere - Zimbabwe

Nominated by: Avril Pasirai Dengura

Advocate Fadzayi Mahere (born 1985) is an inspirational and trailblazing lawyer, politician, and human rights activist. The spokesperson for Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, MDC Alliance, she was among those arrested for taking part in Zimbabwe protests in 2020, accusing the government of corruption, human rights abuse and misgovernance. Despite the arrests and political intimidation, Advocate Mahere continues to speak out for human rights and the rights of disadvantaged citizens in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is ranked 47th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 31.9% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Zimbabwe? You may be  interested in joining Guernsey Simba ngoma. Message Cathy on 07839 708726 or find it on Facebook.

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iran

Maryam Mirzakhani - Iran

Nominated by: Ghazaleh Maunder

Maryam Mirzakhani (1977 to 2017) was a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. She was the first woman, and the first Iranian, to be awarded the Fields Medal, the award for outstanding discoveries in mathematics, often referred to as the maths equivalent of the Nobel Prize. The award cited ‘her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Rimann surfaces and their moduli space’. She died in 2017 after battling breast cancer.

Iran is ranked 181st in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 5.6% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Iran? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Iran in Guernsey.

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The original photo file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

astrid-lindgren

Astrid Lindgren - Sweden

Nominated by: Henrik Asplund and Linda Boucher-Harris

Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002) is the iconic author of more than 70 children’s books, including the Pippi Longstocking series. “Albeit not a politician, Astrid was prepared to make her voice heard in the political world and society in general, primarily when it came to children’s (and animals’) rights but also to challenge the tax regime. And her voice was heard. A woman way ahead of her time!” 

Sweden is ranked 7th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 47% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Sweden? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Sweden in Guernsey.

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Original photo credit: Shutterstock.

poland

Marie Sklodowska Curie - Poland

Nominated by: Agnieszka Stanska

Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867 to 1934) was the first women to win a Nobel Prize, the first and only one to win it twice, and in two scientific fields. The hurdles she had to overcome are equally admirable, emigrating to France because women could not go to university in Poland, juggling childcare and career, and struggling for recognition in the male-dominated French scientific community. “She remains an inspiration today in the struggle for equality of opportunity, responsibilty and reward for men and women.”

Poland is ranked 60th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 28.3% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Poland? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if the is a social or cultural groups for people from Poland in Guernsey.

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The original photo “Marie Curie” by Tekniska Museet is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

india

Dr Padmavathy Bandopadhyay - India

Nominated by: Naga Lakshmi Nandiboyina

Dr Padmavathy Bandopadhyay (born 1944) was India’s first female Air Marshal, the first Indian woman to conduct scientific research in the Arctic, and the first female aviation medicine specialist in the armed forces. Hailing from a middle- class Brahmin family, and caring for her sick mother from an early age, it wasn’t easy for her to break the glass ceiling. Today she educates underprivileged children. ‘Thanks to her there is less of a problem in gender.’

Other iconic Indian women:  Arundhati Roy, nominated by Anthony Athaide; M.S.Subbulakshmi, nominated by Bhavya Dronamraju.

India is ranked 148th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 14,4% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from India? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from India in Guernsey.

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The original image of Padmavathy Bandopadhyay by Mistral & Monsoon, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

norway

Camilla Collett - Norway

Nominated by: Linda Johansen

Jacobine Camilla Collett (1813 to 1895) was a writer, often referred to as the first Norwegian feminist. The younger sister of poet Henrik Wergeland, she is recognized as an early contributor to realism in Norwegian literature and wrote the first novel to deal critically with the position of women. The older Collett got, the more radical her views became and she published a series of anonymous articles supporting social and political change to further women’s roles.

Other iconic women: Marit Bjørgen, Olympian and cross-country skier.

Norway is ranked 14th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 44.4% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Norway? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Norway in Guernsey.

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germany

Angela Merkel - Germany

Nominated by: Stephanie Barnes and Anni Bisson

Angela Merkel (born 1954) has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005. A member of the Christian Democratic Union, Merkel is the first female chancellor of Germany and the first chancellor since reunification to have been raised in the former East Germany. She has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world and by many commentators since 2016 as the “leader of the free world”.

Germany is ranked 49th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 31.5% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Germany? You may be interested in the Deutsche in Guernsey group on Facebook.

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spain

Lourdes Garcia-Cano Luna - Spain

Nominated by: Petra Palmeri

Lourdes Garcia-Cano Luna, sister of Guernsey GP, Petra Palmeri, is a front-line A&E doctor in Cordoba (Andalucia), as well as an intensive care ambulance doctor. The global coronavirus pandemic has rightfully put more of a spotlight on medical staff who, day-in and day-out, put other people’s health needs ahead of their own. Lourdes has worked non-stop through this health crisis, saving lives and often having to work without PPE.

Other iconic women: Concepción Arenal, the first Spanish feminist, nominated by Olga Santana Reyes.

Spain is ranked 16th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 44.0% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Spain? You may be interested in joining the Facebook group Españoles en Guernsey.

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canada

Margaret Atwood - Canada

Nominated by: Karen Kristian

Margaret Atwood (born 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor. Her works include themes such as gender and identity, religion and myth and power politics. “She has wit, grace and humour, and writes visionary literature, from her early works to the later Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake. She has her finger on the pulse of society here and now and shares her insight through several different mediums reaching wide audiences.”

Other iconic women: Elise Harding-Davis, educator and promotor of African-Canadian heritage, nominated by JR Merritt.

Canada is ranked 52nd in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 29.6% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Canada? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Canada in Guernsey.

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The original photo “Margaret Atwood” by Mark Hill Photography is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

brink

Dr Nicola Brink - Bailiwick of Guernsey and South Africa

Nominated by: Lynne Eker, Christine Warr, Cathy Johnstone, Lauren Lillington, JJ Haines, Mrs Anne-Marie Richardson, Julie De La Cour, Kelly Tavender, Amanda Bishop, Natalie, Jenny Taberner, Chloe, Wendy Leale, Karen Forrest, Brodie Williams, Carla, Dominic Le Page, Laura Le Maitre, Laura Le Flocq, April De La Mare.  And others who wished to remain anonymous.

Dr Nicola Brink, Guernsey’s Director of Public Health, was born in South Africa where she became one of the first doctors to specialise in virology. She moved to the UK in 1991 as clinical and senior lecturer at University College Hospital, before arriving in Guernsey in 2003. She has achieved iconic status in the island for her expert guidance through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Her gentle, reassuring voice delivering good and bad news has reassured islanders. We have trusted her completely and followed the guidance in the spirit of Guernsey Together.”
“She is a genuinely inspirational woman who has dedicated herself to the service of others through her much less publicised work for people living with HIV, and her passion for addressing health inequalities.”
“I wouldn’t feel safe in anyone’s else’s hands. Thanking her so much.”

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Photo credit: Guernsey Press

portugal

Queen Isabel - Portugal

Nominated by: Isabel de Menezes

Elizabeth of Aragon (1271 to 1336), known as Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, married King Denis in 1281. She was deeply religious and devoted to the poor and sick. She also took an active interest in Portuguese politics and diplomacy, becoming known as the peacemaker. Legend holds that in 1323, mounted on a mule, she positioned herself between opposing armies on the field of Alvalade to prevent the combat.

Other iconic women: Paula Rego, artist and activist, nominated by Laura Ferreira.

Portugal is ranked 22nd in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 40% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Portugal? You may be interested in the Comunidade Portuguesa em Guernsey on Facebook.

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Original painting by José Gil de Castro, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

guernsey

Dame Sybil Hathaway - Bailiwick of Guernsey

Nominated by: Diane Mitchell

Dame Sybil Hathaway (1984 to 1974) was Seigneur of Sark for over 47 years. “She was formidable in a male-dominated environment and expected to be treated with courtesy and respect as should we all. I was fortunate to meet Dame Sybil when completing my Duke of Edinburgh award in 1971. She was an inspiration to a group of girls who were on the cusp of forging their way in life.”

Other iconic women: Fanny Davies, international pianist, nominated by Richard De La Rue; author and lexicographer Marie de Garis, nominated by Sue Cotterill; Marie Ozanne, ‘resister to oppression’, nominated by Gemma Setters; activist and author Maria Rosetti, nominated by Dinah Bott; professional footballer Maya Le Tissier, nominated by Zoe Lihou.

A full list of all women nominated for the Bailiwick is here.

At 21% Guernsey would rank 110th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament (at data.ipu.org).

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Photo credit: Bundesarchiv/CC-BY-SA, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

iom---Sophia-Goulden

Sophia Goulden - Isle of Man

Nominated by: Camilla Hobbs

Sophia Goulden (1833 – 1910) was the mother of Emmeline Pankhurst and is credited with having a formative influence on her daughter’s commitment to votes for women. Sophia took Emmeline, then aged 14, to her first suffrage meeting after which she became a confirmed suffragist. The speaker that day, Lydia Becker, played a key role in the Isle of Man becoming the first country in the world to grant votes to women in 1881.

The percentage of women in the national parliament of the Isle of Man is 21%.

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Photo credit: Unknown author, public domain.

Sofie Linde - Denmark

Nominated by: Jeanne Tonnes Svejstrup

TV presenter Sofie Linde (born 1989) started the #MeToo movement in Denmark when she spoke out at a comedy gala in 2020 about her experiences with sexual harassment and violations in the media industry. This led to many women coming forward to speak about similar experiences and to some high-profile resignations from men who had abused their powerful positions. A vigorous debate about workplace sexual harassment is now underway in Denmark.

Unfortunately we were unable to obtain a freely reusable or affordable photo of Sofie to celebrate her nomination.

Denmark is ranked 25th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 39.7% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Denmark? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Denmark in Guernsey.

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Ireland---Mary-Robinson

Mary Robinson - Ireland

Nominated by: Karen Power

Mary Robinson (born 1944) was the first female President of Ireland and a change maker in what is traditionally a low-profile role. She was forward thinking and openly challenged government policy that did not serve the people. She went on to become the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and did fantastic work for human rights globally. She is an excellent speaker, inspiring, interesting, a real role model. She is also a mother and grandmother whose family are very important to her. 

Ireland is ranked 101st in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 22.5% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Ireland? You may be interested in joining The Guernsey Irish Association or The Irish Society Guernsey.

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malaysia

Phaik Gan Lim - Malaysia

Nominated by: Sean Cheong

Phaik Gan Lim or PG Lim (1915 to 2013), was a Cambridge-educated Malaysian and a leading human rights lawyer and an advocate for union rights, playing a key role in several landmark legal cases. The country’s first female diplomat, she was the Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Austria, Belgium, and the EEC. Best known as a fearless fighter for social justice and a champion of women’s causes, her contributions shaped the future of a young nation in its early post-independence journey. Hers was truly a life of purpose.

Malaysia is ranked 145th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 14.9% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Malaysia? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Malaysia in Guernsey.

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slovakia

Zuzana Čaputová - Slovakia

Nominated by: Daniela DeVon and Jana Martin

Zuzana Čaputová, (born 1973), politician, lawyer, and environmental activist, is the first female President of Slovakia and also the youngest. “She is a proper, honourable role model for me and many others. She speaks truth to power, works to undermine corruption, appeals to collaborate with other nations to help those that cannot help themselves. She is smart, wise and compassionate, giving hope to those who believe that politicians can be honest and serve the people.”

 

Slovakia is ranked 98th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 22.7% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Slovakia? Please let is know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Slovakia in Guernsey.

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tanzania

Gertrude Mongella - Tanzania

Nominated by: Agnes Manyama

Gertrude Mongella, (born 1945) is an educator, a defender of women rights, a politician and diplomat. In 1995, as a diplomat to the UN, she led the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, contributing significantly to its success. It was a world first that important decisions at this level were taken by a forum comprised almost wholly of women. Patience, tenacity, respect for one another’s opinions and simplicity were the key features of this diplomacy, all attributes that she embodied.

Other iconic women: Flaviana Matata, model and philanthropist, also nominated by Agnes Manyama.

Tanzani is ranked 34th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 36.7% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Tanzania? You may be interested in joining Guernsey Simba ngoma. Message Cathy on 07839 708726 or find it on Facebook.

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The original photo “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action” by UN Women Gallery is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

japan

Mao Asada - Japan

Nominated by: Naoko Imaizumi Mauger

Mao Asada (born 1990) is a former competitive figure skater, widely considered to be one of the best ladies figure skaters of all time. She is the 2010 Olympic silver medallist and a three-time World champion. Due to her artistic interpretation, international success since the young age of 15, rare ability to accomplish the triple Axel, and collection of titles, she has established herself as one of the most recognised athletes in Japan.

Japan is ranked 166th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 9.9% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Japan? You may be interested in joining the Musubi Guernsey group on Facebook.

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peru

Mariana Costa Checa - Peru

Nominated by: Sandra Truelove 

Mariana Costa Checa (born 1986) is the co-founder and CEO at Laboratoria, a social impact startup that is transforming Latin America’s tech sector into an example of diversity and inclusion by preparing thousands of women to launch careers in tech. With training centres in Peru, Chile, Mexico and Brazil, Laboratoria is redefining how to prepare underserved women for the jobs of the future. Mariana was named one of Peru’s leading innovators under 35 by the MIT and one of the world’s most influential women by the BBC.

Peru is ranked 78th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 26.2% (source: data.ipu.org).

Are you from Peru? You may be interested in joining the group ‘La Pēna Latina’ – contact Maria Jose on mjose.fernandezj@gmail.com.

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ukraine

Lesya Ukraika - Ukraine

Nominated by: Alina Bendel

A great poet, writer, activist, and interpreter. Lesya (1871 to 1913) devoted 30 years of her life to literature. Fighting tuberculosis her entire youth, she epitomises female heroism and strength. Being bedridden, courage was the main motive behind her words, thus inspiring millions of people to listen to their hearts and be brave. She was also engaged in folklore studies and played an active role in the Ukranian national movement. 

Other iconic Ukranian women:   Iryna Tsilyk, writer and film-maker, nominated by Iryna Scanlan.

Ukraine is ranked 112th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 20.8% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Ukraine? Please let us know at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from Ukraine in Guernsey.

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Original photo: Unknown author, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons File:Lesya Ukrainka portrait crop.jpg .

mexico

Salma Hayek - Mexico

Nominated by: Edith de la Cruz

Salma Hayek (born 1966) inspires me not only because she is a successful actress, producer and activist but also for the obstacles she has overcome to get where she is.  She has leveraged her success to fight for equal rights and draw attention to issues such as violence against women, particularly in Latin America where many females still do not have a voice. Finally, I admire that she has never forgotten her Mexican roots, and despite her success is still down to earth, and authentic.

Mexico is ranked 6th in the world for percentage of women in the national parliament: 48.2% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from Mexico? You may be interested in joining the group ‘La Pēna Latina’ – contact Maria Jose on mjose.fernandezj@gmail.com

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The original image “Salma Hayek” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

jacinda-adern-2

Jacinda Ardern - New Zealand

Nominated by: Martin Lock

Jacinda Ardern (born 1980) has served as prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017. In 2019, she led the country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, rapidly introducing strict gun laws in response, and throughout 2020 she directed the country’s widely praised response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ardern was the world’s second elected head of government to give birth in office when her daughter was born in 2018. ‘An inspiring Prime Minister who brought a nation together with true leadership, empathy and compassion.’

New Zealand is ranked 4th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 48.3% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Other iconic women: Dame Whina Cooper, nominated by Claire Fisher, and Kate Sheppard, nominated by Anna Cooper.

Are you from New Zealand? You may be interested in joining the ANZACs in Guernsey Facebook group

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