In just a few months the opposition figure went from unknown stay-at-home mom to the leader of democratic Belarus. She told DW she’s proud of both roles, and says that for millions of women, “the inner strength awoke.”

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was a political unknown just one year ago. Today, she has become the leader of the biggest protest movement in Belarus since the country gained independence. The wave of action she led has been awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament, and she has now been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as well.

“I can do everything. I can do it. I already proved it to the whole world. I’m not afraid. You think I can’t take a leadership position? ” she said in a DW interview ahead of International Womens’ Day, which is observed annually on March 8.

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