How many world leaders are women?

In my previous blog post I quoted from the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission’s recent report bemoaning the lack of women in leading positions, including in politics.

It motivated me to research just how many of today’s presidents and national leaders were female.

The list, I am reasonably sure, is 20-strong. Mary McAleese, who has served as president of Ireland since November 1997, is the veteran in terms of tenure, while half the list have been in their posts for less than 18 months. The latest addition is Yingluck Shinawatra – younger sister of deposed Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra – who was appointed as prime minister of Thailand not even a month ago.

The list (ordered by date of appointment):

  • President Mary McAleese (Ireland)
  • President Tarja Halonen (Finland)
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel (Germany)
  • President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (Liberia)
  • President Pratibha Patil (India)
  • President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Argentina)
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed (Bangladesh)
  • Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir (Iceland)
  • Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor (Croatia)
  • President Dalia Grybauskaite (Lithuania)
  • President Roza Otunbayeva (Kyrgyzstan)
  • President Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica)
  • Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Prime Minister Julia Gillard (Australia)
  • Prime Minister Iveta Radicová (Slovakia)
  • President Dilma Rousseff (Brazil)
  • President Micheline Calmy-Rey (Switzerland)
  • Prime Minister Rosario Fernández (Peru)
  • President Atifete Jahjaga (Kosovo)
  • Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Thailand)

With presidential elections coming up next year in both the US and France, what are the chances of the two poster girls of the right – Marine Le Pen of France’s Front National, and Michele Bachmann, queen of the Tea Party – joining this list?

 

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