Elizabeth Frantz—Reuters

President Samia Suluhu Hassan took office in March 2021, and her leadership has been a tonic. That year has made a big difference to Tanzania. A door has opened for dialogue between political rivals, steps have been taken to rebuild trust in the democratic system, efforts have been made to increase press freedom, and women and girls have a new role model.

In September 2021, just a few months into her presidency, Suluhu Hassan delivered a landmark speech as only the fifth African woman leader ever to address the U.N. General Assembly. She stood on the spot where I stood 15 years before as the first democratically elected woman President in Africa.

“As the first female President in the history of my country,” she said, “the burden of expectation to deliver gender equality is heavier on my shoulders.”

As she spoke these powerful words, I couldn’t help but think how strong the shoulders of women leaders are and how much they can make a difference.

Sirleaf is the former President of Liberia and a Nobel Peace Prize winner

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