Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Were she alive today, the trailblazing American feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton would applaud Holland's Neelie Kroes. As a young woman, Neelie was overlooked to head her father's firm and had to resign from another job when she got pregnant. She moved on, became a politician and a businesswoman and is now the European Union's Commissioner for Competition. She can be as playful as a kitten, lighthearted and charming, but there's also a tigress in her. Microsoft underestimated her determination to fight for her convictions and lost a high-profile E.U. case.
It was Neelie, 66, who persuaded me to get into the Dutch parliament. She told me that having the liberty to choose as a woman not only opens the doors to power and money but also carries the responsibility to live with the consequences of those choices. These words, combined with her foresight that feminism's next challenge is to improve the position of Muslim women and other women from the unfree world, helped give me the courage for that fight.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a resident fellow at AEI.