WOMEN LEADING THE WORLD

The vast majority of current world leaders are men, but women have rapidly entered the political realm, and women now lead some of the largest, most populated and most economically successful countries in the world.

Here are some important female leaders whose countries have important connections to the United States.

ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY
Angela Merkel is the first female chancellor of Germany, which has the largest economy in Europe.  She was born in Hamburg in 1954.  From 2006-2009, Merkel was ranked as the most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Magazine.  She was just re-elected for a fourth term.

PRATIBHA PATIL, PRESIDENT OF INDIA
Pratibha Patil is the first female president of India, the most populous democracy in the world, and has a rapidly growing economy.  Patil was born in 1934 in the state of Maharashtra.  She studied political science, economics, and law.

DILMA ROUSSEFF, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL
Dilma Rousseff is the first female president of Brazil, which has the largest area, population, and economy in South America.  She was born in Belo Horizonte in 1947 as the daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant.

ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF, PRESIDENT OF LIBERIA
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the first female president of Liberia.  Liberia was mostly settled by freed American slaves.  Sirleaf is the first, and currently the only, elected female president of any African nation. Sirleaf was born in 1938 in Monrovia.  She studied at American universities.

Here are some of the other female leaders of other countries.

EUROPE

Ireland – Mary McAleese – President
Finland – Tarja Halonen – President
Finland – Mari Kiviniemi – Prime Minister
Lithuania – Dalia Grybauskaite – President
Iceland – Johanna Siguroardottir – Prime Minister
Croatia – Jadranka Kosor – Prime Minister
Slovakia – Iveta Radicova – Prime Minister
Switzerland – Four of the seven members of the Swiss Federal Council are women

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Argentina – Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner – President
Costa Rica – Laura Chinchilla Miranda – President
St. Lucia – Pearlette Louisy – Governor-General
Antigua and Barbuda – Louise Lake-Tack – Governor-General
Trinidad and Tobago – Kamla Persad-Bissessar – Prime Minister

ASIA

Kyrgyzstan – Roza Otunbayeva – President
Bangladesh – Hasina Wazed – Prime Minister

OCEANIA

Australia – Quentin Bryce – Governor-General
Australia – Julia Gillard – Prime Minister

The country with the most female heads of state is San Marino with 16, followed by Switzerland with seven.

QUEENS AS ROYAL LEADERS

A woman can enter into a powerful governmental role by birth or marriage.  A queen consort is the wife of a current king.  The other kind of queen is a queen regnant.  She, not her husband, possesses the sovereignty of her country. There are currently three queen regnants in the world.

UNITED KINGDOM – QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Queen Elizabeth II became queen of the United Kingdom in 1952.  Britain still had an enormous empire then, but throughout Elizabeth’s reign, most of Britain’s dependencies gained independence.  Former British possessions are now members of the Commonwealth of Nations and Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of these member countries.

THE NETHERLANDS – QUEEN BEATRIX
Queen Beatrix became queen of The Netherlands in 1980.  She is the queen of The Netherlands, and its island possessions of Aruba and Curacao (located near Venezuela), and Sint Maarten, located in the Caribbean Sea.

DENMARK – QUEEN MARGRETHE II
Queen Margrethe II became queen of Denmark in 1972.  She is the queen of Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands.

FEMALE LEADERS
There are now 70 female leaders in all parts of the world, and they inspire all women to be more politically active in a world that is gender-equal and peaceful.

In the recent past, there have been a number of internationally prominent female heads of state:

  • Indira Ghandi, India
  • Golda Meir, Israel
  • Eva Peron, Argentina
  • Margaret Thatcher, England

Any volunteers to lead America?

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