ROME made history a few days ago when, in its nearly 3000-year existence, it elected its first female mayor.
Virginia Raggi, a 37-year-old lawyer, convincingly won the contest, pledging the start of a “new era” of transparency and legality; strict probes and tougher penalties on corruption, white-collar crime and city-contract scandals; and introducing much-needed universal income support.
Since the late 1800s, women around the world have been appointed or elected mayors, winning the people’s admiration for carrying out their office with distinction.
The first woman mayor recorded is believed to be Susanna Madeira Salter of the United States who served as mayor of Argonia, Kansas in 1887. In 1937, Ines V. Serion became the first woman in Asia to be elected mayor in Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental in the Philippines.
In Malaysia, Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad, who has vast administrative experience at state and federal levels, became the country’s first female mayor when she was appointed Petaling Jaya mayor in 2013.
Other countries where women have served or continue to serve as mayors include Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and, more recently, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.
Women in positions of leadership have distinguished themselves by their immense contributions to their societies, nations and the world. Indeed, the next secretary-general of the United Nations could very well be a woman!