Time after time, women leaders have called out blatant sexism, put misogynistic leaders in their place, and reminded the world at large, that women can no longer be treated as second-class citizens. 

Across the globe, female leaders like these have taken a stand against casual sexism, prevalent in both, society and politics: 

1. In a speech that has now gone viral, American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez completely laid into a Congressman who called her a ‘f*cking bitch’. She made it perfectly clear that it is no longer acceptable to casually disrespect women. 

2. In her address to Rajya Sabha on International Women’s Day, former External Affairs Minister, the late Sushma Swaraj stated that it was not enough to celebrate women’s accomplishments. It was equally important to call out and end the unfair treatment constantly meted out to women. 

3. After MP Azam Khan, who has a history of sexist remarks against female politicians, again made a sexist remark against MP Rama Devi, politician Smriti Irani publically condemned his behavior. 

Yeh vishay mahilaon ka nahi hai…Let us not reduce it to a woman’s problem. This is a blot on legislators, including men. This is not a house where men come in, taaki mahilaon ki aankhon mein jhaanka jaaye. 

4. After Mr. Abbott (then-leader of the opposition party in Australia) claimed that sexist people are not fit to lead, former Australian PM Julia Gillard called him out for being a misogynist himself. 

Reportedly Abbott had, at one point, catcalled Gillard across the chamber. 

I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man… not now, not ever. If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror.

5. When Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke stated women should ‘earn less because they are less intelligent than men’, Spanish politician Iratxe García had the perfect response for him. 

6. In 2017 Jacinda Ardern became the youngest leader of the then opposition party, the Labour party. And Radio host Mark Richardson asked her about becoming a mother. Her response made it perfectly clear why such a question was not acceptable in the 21st century. 


7. When Australian politician Julia Banks resigned from the Liberal party, she remarked upon how politics is ‘years behind’ the business world when it comes to granting women equal respect. 

Often when good women call out or are subjected to bad behaviour, the reprisals backlash and commentary portrays them as the bad ones, the liar, the troublemaker the emotionally unstable or weak, or someone who should be silenced.

8. When MP Hilary Clinton was running for president, she was heckled at a public event, with a male protester shouting, “Iron my shirt!”. She took it as an opportunity to point out that this was the behavior and glass ceiling that she was fighting against. 

Oh, the remnants of sexism, alive and well. As I think has just been abundantly demonstrated, I am also running to break through the highest and hardest glass ceiling…

9. In 2016, 17 French female politicians wrote an open letter, asking for the end of sexism in politics, clearly stating that they ‘will not be silent anymore.”

This scourge (sexism) is not unique to our universe, far from it, but the political world has a duty to set an example. Those who write laws, vote them, are responsible for enforcing them, must respect them and therefore be irreproachable… It’s not for women to adapt to these environments. It’s the behavior of certain men that needs to change.

You can read the complete letter here

10. When MP Priyanka Gandhi entered politics, opposition leader Vinay Katiyar commented on her beauty, rather than her qualifications. But her response certainly set things straight.  

11. In an interview with Youth Ki Awaaz, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, whose fiery speech on the importance of dissent in the parliament had earlier won over the people, made it clear that sexism needs to be nipped in the bud. 

It is high time that leaders, across the globe, realize that misogyny, casual sexism, and blatant disregard of a person’s capabilities because of gender, are no longer acceptable practices in the modern world.