Women to Know: Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel has been a powerhouse in European politics, assuming office as Chancellor of Germany in 2005. As #1 on Forbes Most Powerful Women in 2011 list (beating out Hillary for the top spot), Merkel has proven that she can not only compete with the biggest players in international politics, but pulls the reins on Europe’s debt-crisis policies. Her staunch austerity measures have become her signature economic-revival move, cutting social programs and trimming public sector deficits. This austerity package, while supported in Germany, has caused tension in the Eurozone, particularly in France and Greece who are key components of the plan. After Nicolas Sarkozy’s defeat to socialist Francois Hollande in the May 6th presidential elections, many are beginning to wonder whether the fiscal alliance between Germany and France will hold. The German Chancellor’s 130 billion euro bailout deal to Greece was also publicly denounced by Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing coalition Syriza who placed second in the Greek elections on May 6th.
Despite the recent backlash to Merkel’s policies and criticism to the demands of her fiscal pacts, Merkel remains one of the most powerful female leaders of the last decade. There is no denying that she is one smart lady. She earned her doctorate with a thesis in quantum chemistry, which for the average person is a feat in itself. Merkel served as Chair of the G8, a group of the top eight world economies, and was President of the European Council in 2007 (the second woman, behind Margaret Thatcher, to hold this position). Her strong policies and prompt decision-making have given her the nickname of “The Decider.” Her commitment to international cooperation and strengthening cross-country ties, has won her international allies and awards such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. Merkel has also been a spearhead in moving towards green energy. She is one of the only leaders of an industrial nation who has proposed major global policy to stop greenhouse gas emissions (though, no other country has gotten on board with it yet, it’s a step in the right direction).
Image from http://expensive-world.com/angela-merkels-1990-vw-golf/