To celebrate International Women’s Day this month, we wanted to acknowledge the incredible impact that female leaders are having on raising wellbeing up the political agenda. In this post we share our five amazing women influencing the wellbeing agenda. 

1. Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister

Jacinda Ardern is a leading figure on shifting our political priorities beyond economic growth at any cost and towards growth in wellbeing. “Ardern put out a national budget where spending is dictated by what best encourages the “well-being” of citizens, rather than focusing on traditional bottom-line measures like productivity and economic growth.” This is the type of strong leadership that is needed to help us start to measure what matters most in life. 

2. Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

In a brilliant TedTalk, Nicola Sturgeon explains the far-reaching implications of adopting a wellbeing economy which places factors like equal pay, childcare, mental health and access to green space at its heart and shows how this new focus could help build resolve to confront global challenges. Well worth a watch! 


We are aware that there are many more ways to shift culture and support wellbeing beyond (inter)national campaigning and political change. There are many grassroots activists and community initiatives making a big difference, too! If you are – or know – an inspiring woman making a difference to the wellbeing of people and planet then please let us know! Tweet @NetwrkWellbeing with the tag #WomenInWellbeing and we’ll try to share all relevant examples we see. 

Women in wellbeing, at NOW’s Building Wellbeing Together Weekend (also pictured in header image above)

3. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland

Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand worked together to establish a network of Wellbeing Economy Governments to challenge the acceptance of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as the ultimate measure of a country’s success. Katrín Jakobsdóttir has overseen work in Iceland to implement a new wellbeing framework, offering a broad and comprehensive picture that includes people’s wellbeing in government policy formulation.

4. Vandana Shiva, Environmental and Social Activist, Academic and Author

Author and environmental and social activist Vandana Shiva has spent a lifetime petitioning for change and redefining progress so that we respect and nurture the earth and our own wellbeing. In an interview with NOW, she discusses how GDP at best ignores and at worst encourages the destruction of our planet. She says that “we have been drowned under artificial indicators that are buckling our earth, our health, our livelihoods.” That “it’s time to invent. Time to be geniuses.” And to recognise the wealth that’s in us. 

5. Caroline Lucas, Green Party Politician

Increasing the wellbeing of as many people as possible is a more meaningful objective for public policy than increasing GDP, says Caroline Lucas in an interview with NOW. “One of the advantages about talking about wellbeing as an organising principle is that it allows us to make much more visible and tangible the wellbeing of individuals and the wellbeing of our wider environment, of the planet” she says. “If we talk more and more about wellbeing then that connection between our context, our environment…and our own lives …is much easier to make. It’s a way of getting away from this division between environment on one side and society on the other. It’s a way of bringing these two things back together as they are in reality.”

Tweet @NetwrkWellbeing with the tag of other #WomenInWellbeing and we’ll try to share all relevant examples we see.