A recent article published by the Buddhist Channel points to two of the world’s most influential forces in advocating for social change—and both happen to be women.  Former President of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino, as well as Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma have both worked to promote democracy and equality in the East.

Aquino, who recently passed, mobilized in large part the take-down of the former dictatorship in the Philippines. “Her rallying of common folk in pacifist protests sent a ricocheting message to the world that inspired uprisings from South Korea to the Soviet bloc.”

Aung San Suu Kyi, Prime-Minister elect of Burma and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has fought diligently to democratize the region and has been unduly punished for her peaceful and equitable efforts. Her prison sentence was just extended to include another 18 months for hosting an American in her home, totaling more than 14 years in detention.

These brave women have devoted their lives work to creating a more equitable space for all who inhabit their lands.

Is it possible that the gender double standard leaves women who speak out politically more vulnerable to backlash and penalty?