Tag: leaders

Liz Bolshaw

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?


Rebecca Knight

There is a bundle of academic research showing that women tend to be more risk averse than men. In business, this plays out in a number of ways. 

Liz Bolshaw

I am not much of a betting woman, but the leadership vacuum at the top of London’s Metropolitan Police has created something of a frenzy of interest at the country’s bookmakers.

The two top jobs at Scotland Yard are up for grabs, as Sir Paul Stephenson, commissioner, and John Yates, assistant commissioner, have fallen on their swords in the phone-hacking scandal. Two of Britain’s most senior policewomen are in the running; were either of them to be successful, it would be a first for the Met.

Liz Bolshaw

A new report by Northwestern University, Chicago, shows that both men and women still see women as being less qualified or less “natural” in leadership roles.

Rebecca Knight

A new course on leadership at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, will give more than a dozen of its female MBA students a taste of what it feels like to be at the top – the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, that is. 

Liz Bolshaw

A self-confessed list junkie, I was immediately drawn to Gideon Rachman’s piece in yesterday’s FT in which he asks: “Where have all the great thinkers gone?” Citing Foreign Policy magazine’s List of the Top 100 Global Thinkers, Rachman contrasts the list, heavily biased towards US politicians, with those one might draw up for 1861 or 1939 – and finds the class of 2011 wanting.

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The 'Women at the Top' blog is part of a series of online and print publications that focuses on women's achievements in business. With up-to-date news and incisive analysis, the blog will provoke discussion on the role of the world's most prominent businesswomen. www.ft.com/womenblog

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About our bloggers

Liz Bolshaw

Liz Bolshaw is a business journalist and editor. She has been a successful book publisher, online editor, magazine editor and publisher.

She was launch editor of the Europe-wide online community Entrepreneur Country, has published magazines for PwC, 3i, dunhill and Bafta, and launched The Sharp Edge, a magazine for and about entrepreneurs, with Duncan Bannatyne. She is a regular contributor to Thomson Reuters’ Venture Capital Journal.

Her last project for the Financial Times was as editor of the paper’s Business Education magazine.

Rebecca Knight

Rebecca Knight is a freelance journalist based in Boston. She writes regularly for the FT on business education, entrepreneurship, and management.

Andrew Hill

Andrew Hill is an associate editor and the management editor of the FT. He was City editor of the FT and editor of the daily Lombard column on British business and finance from September 2006 to December 2010.

He was the FT’s financial editor from June 2005 to September 2006, with overall responsibility for coverage of companies and markets. Before becoming financial editor, he was the FT’s comment & analysis editor, in charge of the paper’s opinion and features pages.

From 1999 to 2003, he was the FT’s New York bureau chief. He joined the FT in 1988 and has also worked as foreign news editor, UK companies reporter and correspondent in Brussels and Milan.

Pino Bethencourt

Pino Bethencourt is a professor and leadership expert at IE Business School in Madrid. She is also an author and executive coach.

Lynda Gratton

Lynda Gratton is professor of management practice at London Business School.

Linda Tarr-Whelan

Linda Tarr-Whelan, former ambassador to the UN commission on the status of women, is a Demos distinguished senior fellow.