Female political leaders have made their mark in their countries and have reached high positions of state. These politicians have worked incessantly in the difficult profession of politics and have become successful. Their careers indicate that politics has now become an equal-opportunity profession that has certainly added colour and vitality to this crucial field of activity.
Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, has earned universal respect for her prompt and compassionate reaction to the atrocity committed by a white supremacist in Christchurch ending the lives of 50 innocent Muslims in a mosque. Jacinda Ardern assumed the office of the prime minister at the age of 37 thereby becoming the world’s youngest female head of government. Later, in June 2018, the Labour Party leader also became the world’s second elected leader (after Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto) to give birth to a child while holding office.
Zuzana Caputova, a lawyer by profession, created history in March 2019 after getting elected as the first female head of Slovakia. A member of the liberal Progressive Slovakia party, Caputova rose to fame after blocking the construction of a landfill in her hometown. With nearly no previous experience in politics, she played a major part in the protests after the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and contested the presidential election on an anti-corruption agenda.
Though currently besieged in the complicated Brexit affair, Theresa May was sworn in as the Prime Minister of the UK in July 2016, following David Cameron’s resignation. She is the second female Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher, who served between 1979 and 1990. May was previously the home secretary, serving in the post from 2010 to 2016. In July 2016, she also assumed the leadership of the Conservative Party.
Angela Merkel is Germany’s first woman chancellor and has also managed to stay at the top since 2005. Merkel began leading her party, Christian Democratic Union, in 2000. She is a highly respected political leader in the European Union and her clout is also recognised globally. In academics, she holds a doctorate degree in physical chemistry.
Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and is holding this office since 2019 and her political career spans over four decades. She served as the opposition leader from 1986-95. She is also a part of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international group of current and former women presidents and prime ministers.
Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, was re-elected in September 2017, and held the position since 2013. Additionally, she has also been the leader of the Conservative Party of Norway since 2004. She has chaired the Norwegian delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Parliamentary Assembly and formed an integral part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Advocates in 2016.
Bidhya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal was elected as the second president of Nepal, and its first woman president, in 2015. She won a second presidential term in March 2018. Earlier, she was the vice-chair of the Communist Party of Nepal. She previously served as the Minister of Defense from 2009-11.
Dalia Grybauskaite, President of Lithuania, also known as the “Iron Lady” or the “Steel Magnolia” is the first female president of Lithuania who was sworn in July 2009 and re-elected in May 2014. Previously, she served as the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance and European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget.
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta was sworn in as the ninth president of Malta on April 4, 2014, succeeding George Abela. She is the second woman to hold the post after Agatha Barbara, who held the office from 1982-87. In 2014, she formed a non-profit consultative and research entity known as The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.
Tsai Ing-wen, President of Taiwan, is her country’s first female president in office since 2016. A former law professor she is the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party which supports independence of Taiwan from China. Her government career began in 1993, and her first high-profile role came as Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council in 2000. She became the first female presidential candidate of her country back in 2011, but lost to Ma Ying-jeou.
Katrin Jakobsdottir, Prime Minister of Iceland, is only the second woman to head a government in Iceland. Jakobsdottir became prime minister in 2017 after her coalition government – comprising Left Green Movement, the Independence Party and the Progressive Party came to power. She was earlier deputy chairperson of the Left Green Movement in 2003 followed by Iceland’s Minister of Education, Science and Culture and the Minister of Nordic Co-operation from 2009 to 2013. TW
Hoor Asrar Rauf has remained a swimming champion and is a budding entrepreneur