Which Muslim Majority Country Was the First To Have A Female Head Of State?

Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto

The Quran contains verses that support the importance of women in politics, including Queen of Sheba who was frequently consulted on behalf of her people. Khadija bint Khuwaylid, the first wife of Muhammad, was his principal advisor and foremost supporter while his third wife Aisha Bakr was a renowned medicine consultant and even accompanied the prophet to wars. It is also said that Aisha Bakr led an army of men at the Battle of the Camel. Men seem to ignore the holy scripture and stand on the unproven words of prophet Muhammad “a nation led by a woman will never be successful.” The notion that women should be confined to the role of mother and wife is rebuked not only by the international community but also by Muslim women themselves.

Pakistan and Benazir Bhutto 

Despite barriers to entry, Benazir Bhutto was the first female prime minister to lead a Muslim-majority country when she was elected as the head of government of Pakistan in 1988. Her appointment to office was heavily criticized by other Islamic countries, but praised by the rest world. Benazir Bhutto is viewed as a landmark of women leadership by Muslim women and the international community. Before her appointment, she served as the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party between November 1982 - December 2007. Benazir was more than a political figure; she was a role model to the new generation of women, in fact she was an Alma Mater of both Oxford and Harvard University. She served her first term as Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990, and her second term between 1993 to 1996. Her father had served as the Prime Minister between 1971 and 1973. Unfortunately, like her father, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated while campaigning for re-election in 2007. Even after her death, she is revered as a role model for Muslim women.


More in Society