In the Media:
President Tsai Ing-wen of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
In the summer of 2015, Tsai received an endorsement from the late John McCain, allowing her to become the first female president of the Republic of China. She is the seventh president of the Republic since its founding in 1947. Under Tsai, Taiwanese-aborigines, LGBTQ/SAGA individuals, the poor, and women and children have gained previously nonexistent representation. Additionally, Tsai has vied for government mandated healthcare and greater transparency, as well as nonpartisanship and the independence of the Republic of China. Tsai has been working to defuse tensions with the People’s Republic of China and establish the Republic of China as a separate country. However, in light of recent threats from the People’s Republic, Tsai has said that “No One Can Obliterate Taiwan’s Existence.” Tsai is seeking reelection in 2020 so that she can keep Taiwanese autonomy intact. Her Twitter handle can be found at https://twitter.com/iingwen?s=17
In Contemporary History:
Founding Grandmother and Prime Minister Golda Meir of the State of Israel (Israel)
Golda Meir was the first female Prime Minister of Israel. During her administration, Israel was attacked by Egypt and Syria, who were supported by a myriad of countries (the U.S.S.R., Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Cuba) while Israel was backed only by the United States. Meir was warned by spies that there was a war coming, but she and her advisers thought that this was false intelligence. Israel had already won a war against the Arabs, taking much of their land and humiliating them, so Meir doubted they would try again. However, when Meir received official news of an imminent Syrian invasion, she mobilized the full Israeli army just six hours before the attack, risking countless lives. Israel suffered major defeats during the war but was eventually able to push back invading forces and capture even more land than before, humiliating the Arab nations once again. However, the war marked the end of Golda Meir’s leadership as she took heavy criticism for not preparing earlier, causing her approval rating to drop from 90% to 20%. Ultimately, she felt that she had failed her people by not acting sooner, and resigned a few months later to enjoy a quiet retirement. In 1978, Meir died of lymphatic cancer at the age of 80. She was buried four days later on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, and remains a controversial figure in Israeli history to this day.
Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa of the Ashanti Empire (Ghana)
During British imperialism the Ashanti empire was subjugated by the British.They British demanded the Ashanti’s golden stool, an artifact that the Ashanti believe held the souls of their dead. Instead, Yaa Asantewaa headed an army to fight against the British and defend their home. The only issue was that the Ashanti did not have all the means that they would need to fight the British properly and win so Yaa Asantewaa had a better idea. She used the element of surprise to attack the British and lay siege to the Fort Kumasi, the British’s main fort in the area. Yaa Asantewaa hoped that they would give up and leave them in peace. Days passed, and slowly people started to get ill, food and water were running low, and the end of the British was near. Yaa Asantewaa denied to allow the sick and weak to leave the fort as a show of goodwill, but little did she know that they were carrying a letter. A few days later the British army showed up and broke the siege. They captured Yaa Asantewaa’s remaining family and forced her to capitulate. Yaa Asantewaa was captured sent into exile with the rest of the Ashanti kings. On her birthday in 1921 Yaa Asantewaa died, two years later the exiled kings and Emperor were able to return to Ashanti and continue the Empire until 1957. However, Yaa Asantewaa achieved her goal; the Golden Stool did not move from its rightful spot with the Ashanti people.