Despite the fact that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2021, it has been a year of many firstsespecially for women. From making us proud through their achievements in the field of sports to making headway in the world of tech, women have done it all. A field in which women from around the world have had many firsts this year, is politics.While leaders like Jacinda Ardern and Angela Merkel have continued with their powerful statements and led their nations through these tough times, others have made breakthroughs in nations like the USA, Barbados, Sweden and even Tunisia. Here are a few women in politics who showed that they truly hold the power to change the world and how it perceives women in authority.The Women Of AfghanistanBut before we begin this list, a special mention must be made. As the US forces exited Afghanistan in 2021, the Taliban regained power in the country. This immediately put Afghan women in danger of losing their rights, whether its to education and sports or to jobs and financial freedom. The Taliban soon started shutting womens access to government offices, workplaces, sporting activities, schools, mainstream media, and even removed womens posters from street facades. And yet, the women of Afghanistanwhether in exile or still in the countrycontinued to fight this immense curtailing of their basic rights.Women from around the country took to the streets to protest the infringement of their rights, and a few went even further. For example, 15-year-old Sotoodah Forotan from Herat spoke against the Talibans ban on womens higher education at a public event held on October 21. She dared the officials to reopen the schools for girls, and her bravery pushed the Taliban leaders to return to secondary schools in the province. On the other hand, exiled Afghan members of parliament and politicianslike Nazifa Yousofi Bek and Shagufa Noorzaicontinued to fight for the rights of Afghan women by speaking to the world about the deteriorating conditions and asking for help for the nations women.All of these women may not be holding political offices in Afghanistan, but they prove that you dont need to hold key political positions to make your power felt and your voices heard.Kamala HarrisOn January 20, 2021, Kamala Devi Harris scripted history when she was sworn in as the 49th and current vice president of the USA. She is the first woman to achieve this position, and is now the highest-ranking woman official in US history. Born to Shyamala Gopalan (an Indian biologist) and Donald J Harris (a Stanford economics professor of African-Jamaican descent), Harris is also the first African-American and Asian-American woman to hold such a powerful position. Her victory was celebrated not only by all Indians, but especially by women of colour around the world, including in India.Sandra MasonBarbados, a country in the Caribbean, had been ruled by the British since the 17th century, and became a part of the Commonwealth in 1966. In 2021, the country began its transition from a constitutional monarchy under Queen Elizabeth II into a full-fledged republic, and at the helm of this move, is Sandra Mason. This Barbadian politician was the eighth and final governor-general of Barbados (2018-2021), and in October 2021, she was elected to become the countrys first president. Apart from being an attorney at law, Mason has also had a long career as a diplomat. The fact that a newly turned republic chose a woman to lead its independent path sends a very powerful message indeed.Najla Bouden RomdhaneTunisia has been a country in political turmoil this year, but a real turning point came when the countrys president, Kais Saied, asked Najla Bouden Romdhane to assume the title of prime minister, form the government and lead it. On assuming office in October 2021, Bouden has become not only the first woman to become a prime minister of Tunisia, but also the entire Arab world. A geologist and university professor, Bouden served in the education ministry in 2011. Saied, while making the announcement, described the news as an honour to Tunisia and its women. And despite criticisms about how few executive powers she actually has, this move by an Arab country was inspiring.Magdalena AnderssonIn November 2021, Sweden got its first woman prime minister with the election of Magdalena Andersson as the next leader of the government. An economist by profession, Andersson joined the Swedish Social Democratic Party in 1983, and has served as an advisor and director of planning in previous administrations. In 2014, Andersson was elected to the Swedish parliament and became finance minister. After her election in 2021, there was a brief moment when she stepped down due to strife in the parliament, but was soon confirmed as the next prime minister. As of November 30, she is the current leader of the Scandinavian country.Nirmala SitharamanShe made her entry into the Rajya Sabha in 2014, and made history in 2019 when she was sworn in as Indias first woman finance minister. She steered the nation and its economy through the COVID-19 pandemic and all the crises it broughtshe was, in fact, the first cabinet minister to talk to the public at a press conference after the lockdowns were imposed. From providing support and relief to COVID-hit regions to ensuring the blow on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) wasnt too hard, Sitharaman did it all. This is primarily the reason why she made it to the top of Fortune Indias Most Powerful Women list of 2021, and ranked 41st on Forbes magazine's 100 Most Powerful Women list of 2021.Avril HainesBelieve it or not, but the world of power and politics depends on one huge factor: Intelligence. From assessing threats from within and without a country to making sure national security is in place, intelligence agents have a huge role to play in keeping those in politics and power safeand this role, in turn, makes them immensely powerful too. In that sense alone, Avril Haines is one of the most powerful women on this planet. This American lawyer is currently the director of National Intelligence under the Biden administration in the USthe first woman to serve in this role. Before that, she was also the first woman to hold two other powerful positions in the intelligence community: Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).