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Politics has historically been a male-dominated sphere. However, even if at a less than ideal pace, women are winning their seat at the table. In June 2018, another large success was won. Foreign Minister María Fernandez Espinosa Garcés of Ecuador became the newly-elected President of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Garcés is one of only four women to hold this post in the history of the UN, the only woman to hold this post since 2006, and the first woman ever to hold this position from Latin America and the Caribbean. Garcés has an impressive resume: writer/poet of over 30 academic articles, prize recipient of the Ecuadorian National Poetry Prize in 1990 and first woman named Permanent Representative of Ecuador in New York – after successfully serving as the Ambassador in Geneva.

Garcés holds a commitment to human rights, indigenous women and climate change: asserting that her main priorities are the finalization of the global compact on migration, climate action, inequality, peace in the Middle East – including the rights of the Palestinian people.

Garcés is one of many trailblazing women in politics – qualified, hardworking women pushing against the history of gender inequality to claim their space, nationally and internationally.

Gender inequality is pervasive as women still fight for the ability to make decisions over their body, receive equal pay, etc. The realm of politics has historically operated in an environment rife with bias, including gender inequality. Representation is important and, as Garcés exemplifies with her prioritizing the issues of indigenous women, issues of minority groups remain underrepresented until people who relate to these issues bring them to the forefront.

Garcés now has an international stage within the UN, offering us an unprecedented view of these issues. Likewise, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a young 28-year-old Puerto Rican woman who has won the Democratic Primary for Congress in New York City’s 14th District against a ten-term incumbent.

Whether the wins are small or large, local or international, women are showing their ability to rise against the status quo of gender inequality to provide meaningful examples of change and innovation.

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Dr. Amy S. Tolbert, CSP Principal – ECCO International Partner – Spectra Diversity Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Expert Author, Researcher and Keynote Speaker Dr. Amy S. Tolbert expands individuals’ productivity and increases organizations’ profitability through leadership development and global business communications.