Politics

10 Female Heads of State

There are many powerful women around the world who occupy the highest political office in their respective countries

Politics is often thought of as a male-dominated sphere. However, women in the highest political office is more common than people think. Here is a list of 10 female heads of state around the world. 

10. Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel has served as the Chancellor of Germany from 2005 - 2018. She held variety of government positions, such as Minister for Women and Youth (1991) and Minister for the Environment (1994), prior to her appointment as Germany's chancellor. During the 2013 election, Merkel's party won the largest number of seats, and formed the government with the support of the Free Democratic Party.

9. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the first female president of Liberia, and also happens to be the first female leader in the continent of Africa. She came into office on January 16th 2016 after winning the 2005 presidential election. Sirleaf previously worked as a minister until a coup d'état resulted in President Tolbert’s death. She was also a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, together with Tawakkol Karman and Leymah Gbowee.

8. Doris Leuthard

Doris Leuthard was President of Switzerland from 2010 - 2017. Leuthard was first elected president in 2010 and subsequently re-elected in 2016. She became a member of Swiss Federal Council following the resignation of Joseph Deiss. In 2009, Leuthard was elected Switzerland's Vice President, which helped put her on the path to the presidency.

7. Sheikh Hasina

Sheikh Hasina is the incumbent Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and was previously elected to the position in 1996 and 2009. Hasina first entered politics in 1981 when she was elected president of the Bangladesh Awami League. She was elected prime minister for the third time in 2014 and is the longest serving prime minister in Bangladesh's history. 

6. Dalia Grybauskaite

Dalia Grybauskaite was President of Lithuania from 2009 - 2019, and the first woman to be elected president in her country. She previously held various government positions, such Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Finance Minister, prior to running for the presidency. She is often described as an “iron lady.” Grybauskaitė is not married and has no children.

5. Simonetta Sommaruga

Simonetta Sommaruga is a Swiss politician who was elected Switzerland's president in 2015, and previously served as Vice President. Simonetta served as president between January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2015, when she was succeeded by Schneider-Ammann.

4. Theresa May

Theresa May was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and held office from 2016 - 2019.  She is the second woman to ascend to premiership after Margaret Thatcher. May previously held various ministerial positions, such as Shadow Transport Secretary. She campaigned against Brexit (the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union), but after referendum results she asserted that she would not hold another referendum, stating “Brexit means Brexit.”

3. Michellle Bachelet

Michele Bachelet served as President of Chile from 2006 - 2010. She came into office for the second time on 11th March 2014. Between her two presidencies she was appointed executive director of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

2. Marie-Louise Coleiro

Marie-Louise Coleiro has served as the President of Malta 2014 - 2019. She was a Member of Parliament between 1998 and 2014. Coleiro is the youngest president in Malta's history, and has sought to improve the country's economic and social conditions by establishing the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, which advises the president on the living conditions of citizens.

1. Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai Ing-wen is the current President of Taiwan and the second to ascend to power from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Ing-wen is the first woman to be elected her county's president, and the first to have not previously held an executive position prior to serving as president. However, she did hold appointive posts, such as chairperson of Consumer Protection Commission and chair of the Democratic Progressive Party (DDP), before being elected president on January 16, 2016.

Are There Any Female Heads of Government?

There are many powerful women in politics around the world. Some examples are Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the President of Liberia and the first female head of state in Africa.

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