Women all over the world are stepping up to show great courage in the face of adversity with true leadership — proving they have what it takes to manage the world and family. From Atlanta’s Mayor and Odyssey Woman Keisha Lance Bottoms to New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, their backbone and grit reveal that women have what it takes to deal with everything from reforming police departments, to kick ass gun control, to painting BLACK LIVES MATTER on the road leading to the White House.
When Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms saw calamity in her beloved city, she took swift action. She focused on two fronts: COVID-19 outbreaks and the treatment of black men, including the senseless death of George Floyd.
Right away, folks living paycheck to paycheck were having problems paying bills after COVID-19 layoffs, so she ordered Atlanta’s water authority to cease shut-offs for 60 days in cases of nonpayment.
She told Governor Brian Kemp that reopening a frightened state too fast would only increase cases of COVID-19. Her rebuke of Kemp was swift: “As I look at people standing in line for haircuts and to get their nails done, what we are essentially saying in Georgia is: Go bowling and we’ll have a bed [in the ER] waiting on you,” she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on April 27. “That’s not what our approach should be to COVID-19.”
Bottoms took the reins of leadership for her community despite what the governor was pitching. Local business leaders agreed with her, signaling she had the pulse of this crisis in hand. Most important, she has the support of COVID-weary residents.
To help them, she launched the ATL Strong fund, in partnership with United Way of Greater Atlanta, to support residents and small businesses experiencing economic hardships caused by COVID-19.
Bottoms has grit and determination. In the wake of the George Floyd protests, she was quick to recommend reallocation of police funding to community outreach programs.
Then, after yet another black man was gunned down in Atlanta, this time in the parking lot of a Wendy’s on Friday, June 14, she didn’t have to wait until there was a commision formed on what the video showed clear as day — Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back as he ran away from officers. She called for the immediate firing of police officer Garrett Rolfe.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is yet another pillar of strength in the call for responsible government. As the nation looked on in disbelief as scores of stimulus loans under the Paycheck Protection Program went to businesses like Shake Shack and pharmaceutical maker OptiNose (they sent the money back), Pelosi said enough is enough. She dug in her heels after smaller mom-and-pop shops were left out.
In a joint statement issued alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, she put her foot down: “Further changes must also be made to the [Small Business Administration’s] assistance initiative, as many eligible small businesses continue to be excluded from the Paycheck Protection Program by big banks with significant lending capacity. Funding for COVID-19 SBA disaster loans and grants must be significantly increased to satisfy the hundreds of billions in oversubscribed demand.”
She also opposed any idea of a quick end to the shutdown orders that have stopped the spread of the virus in order for the White House to save face. She accused Republicans of playing politics by introducing bills that have no chance of passing the House.
Washington D.C. has been a hotbed of unrest over the death of George Floyd — and Mayor Muriel Bowser has led the charge to protect the rights of peaceful protesters who took to the streets there. In fact, she joined them after President Trump championed the use of federal troops to suppress black Americans.
Mayor Bowser took on Trump in a CNN interview: “We should all be watching what’s happening in Washington, D.C., because we don’t want the federal government to do this to any other Americans,” she declared. Ultimately, she followed up with her insistence that Trump “withdraw all extraordinary law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.”
And she has made clear her view of this president and his administration, taking to Twitter to get the word out: “In November, we say ‘next.'”
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern took the bold move to order a lock down early on — imposing self-isolation on citizens after just six cases of COVID-19 came ashore there.
Now Ardern tells NPR that the country has officially eradicated COVID-19 and a return to normal has begun. She confirms, “There are no active cases.”
Arden demanded a lot, but her courage won the day: “Decisive action, going hard and going early, helped to stamp out the worst of virus,” she said in a recent statement.
But Ardern is no stranger to decisive action.
When her country faced tragedy she took bold action. She led a campaign to ban assault rifles in the country after a gunman killed 51 people in two Muslim places of worship, on March 15, 2019. She was able to attain a near unanimous vote to implement the ban. The United States would do well to take notes. Not long after, she successfully initiated a buyback program as well.