2000s: The Millennium Decade
The decade of 2000 will be inseparable from September 11, 2001, the day that four planes were hijacked, and two were flown into the World Trade Center in New York City; close to 3,000 people were killed in the attacks. Wars in the Middle East ensued, conservative American politics prevailed, and yet great strides were made for women globally. Several countries granted voting rights to women for the first time, including Kuwait and Bahrain, and elected women to the highest ranks of state—among the most notable was the election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to president of Liberia, making her Africa's first elected female leader. In Germany, Angela Merkel became the country's first female chancellor; Michelle Bachelet was sworn in as Chile's first female president; and in the U.S., Condoleezza Rice became the first woman to serve as U.S. National Security Advisor; in 2006, Nancy Pelosi was the first woman elected Speaker of the House in the U.S. House of Representatives, which places her just two seats from the presidency.
Since 2000, the fight for women's reproductive rights in the U.S. has been chaotic, as women make gains followed quickly by defeats. The FDA approved an abortion drug in 2000 but Congress and the House of Representatives soon passed the so-called "Partial Birth" Abortion Ban and Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2003, marking major setbacks for women's rights. None of this sex-gender inequity in the U.S., however, should come as a surprise. In 2006, the World Economic Forum published its long-awaited "Global Gender Gap Report" in which the U.S. was ranked 19th in economic and political empowerment of women, and 46th for economic opportunity, putting them on the same playing field as Swaziland and Papua New Guinea.
On a lighter but no less important note, the Queen Mother of England celebrated her 100th birthday in 2000; in 2002, Halle Berry became the first African American woman to win an Academy Award for best female actress; and while America has yet to see a female president, they have seen one on TV. Geena Davis starred in the lead role of the political drama Commander In Chief from 2005–07.