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World's Famous Women Leaders

World's Famous Women Leaders

In spite of the various challenges that women face, there have been many famous leaders in the world. Even though some countries are not favorable, or were not favorable to having women leader, this trend is changing, and women leaders are becoming more common these days. Given in the article below are some of the world's famous women leaders, who have made a great impact on society...
Historyplex Staff
Women have been at the forefront of politics for quite a while now. They have ruled since the dawn of time. Egyptian queens governed the Mesopotamian area as early as 3000 BC. Women became members of parliament in East European countries after the Great War. They hold offices in many governments. In 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the first woman to become the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. In 1974, in Argentina, Isabel Peron became the first woman ever to become the democratically elected President of the country. Sweden was the first country to have a majority of women ministers. There are queens who are reigning monarchs in three countries: the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Famous Women Leaders of the World
Here, we will be discussing five famous women leaders, namely - Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Angela Merkel, Benazir Bhutto and Rosa Parks.
Margaret Thatcher
As a student, Margaret Thatcher studied chemistry and law. When she became the education minister, she met resistance from student revolutionaries. Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister of United Kingdom for more than eleven years (three terms). She was a conservative whose diplomacy facilitated the breakup of Soviet Union, which helped end the Cold War. She was also a hardcore capitalist, who reduced government spending and was all for deregulation and privatization. She gained popularity when she waged a war against Argentina over the Falkland Islands. During her third term, her tax policy was not liked by many. She also strongly opposed the European Community because she felt it interfered with the UK's sovereignty and would cause problems that came with big government. She had to contend with opposition from the miners' unions and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). She was a great orator and has become one of the most notable, historical figures, as the first woman to lead a political party in any European country.
Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi was the prime minister of India for three terms (14 years). Jawaharlal Nehru, her father, was the first prime minister of India. Her policy of Garibi Hatao (Abolish Poverty) was instrumental in her victory in the 1971 elections. She won the war against Pakistan, after which she enforced a state of emergency in India. This move made her most unpopular with the Indian masses, and was the reason why she lost the following elections. After coming back into power, Indira Gandhi somehow earned the hatred of Sikhs. She authorized an attack on the Golden Temple, a Sikh place of worship, in Punjab, acting on intelligence information that terrorists were hiding there. In a retaliatory action, her Sikh bodyguards assassinated her.
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel was born on July 17, 1954. She is the current head of the government in Germany. She is the president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), since April 10, 2000, and the president of the CDU-CSU grouping, which is an alliance between CDU and its sister party, Christian Social Union of Bavaria. She is also a leader of the coalition of CSU and Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). She is also the president of the European Council and chairperson of the G8. Concerning the internal affairs of Germany, she is directly involved in the matters of health policy and energy policy. In 2008, she was number 1 in Forbes magazine's list of 100 most powerful women in the world. She was awarded the Charlemagne Prize in 2008, for her contribution towards betterment of the European Union.
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a politician who presided over the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a progressive party in Pakistan. Bhutto was the first female head of a Muslim country. She served as prime minister of Pakistan for two terms. She was a Sindhi and a Shia Muslim. Both her terms ended when she was abruptly removed from power for reasons of corruption. She received a pardon from President Musharraf for her corruption wrongdoings. She was assassinated at a gathering organized by PPP during the 2008 election.
Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks was a civil rights leader, who fought for the freedom of the black citizens of United States. In 1955, Parks disobeyed a busman's command to vacate her bus seat to create space for a white passenger. This triggered the 'Montgomery Bus Boycott', a movement against the racial discrimination in buses. The movement led to a decrease in income for the public transport and this caused the law to be changed, making racial segregation illegal. Rosa Parks became an important icon of civil rights protests. She joined hands with Martin Luther King. Rosa Parks got awards from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the United States Congress. She wrote an autobiography titled Rosa Parks: My Story. She died in 2005 at the age of 92.
Women Leaders in the Last Century
In addition to the famous leaders above, here is a list of women who have been leaders of their respective countries. Surprisingly, the list is quite long, with many of us not knowing how many women leaders there have been. The following list is sorted alphabetically, and gives the details of the women leaders of the last century. Though there have been other famous women leaders, they have not been the heads of state, and hence have not been included in the list given below.

Name Post Held
Country
Agatha Barbara
1923 - 2002
President
Malta
Agathe Uwilingiyimana
1953 - 1994
Prime Minister
Rwanda
Angela Merkel*
1954 -
Chancellor
Germany
Beatriz Merino
1947 -
Prime Minister
Peru
Benazir Bhutto
1953 - 2007
Prime Minister
Pakistan
Borjana Kristo
1961 -
President
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Carmen Pereira
1937 -
Acting President
Guinea Bissau
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
1945 -
President
Sri Lanka
Claudette Werleigh
1946 -
Prime Minister
Haiti
Corazon Aquino
1933 - 2009
President
Philippines
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner*
1953 -
President
Argentina
Dalia Grybauskaite*
1956 -
President
Lithuania
Dame Eugenia Charles
1919 - 2005
Prime Minister
Dominica
Dilma Rousseff*
1947 -
President
Brazil
Edith Cresson
1934 -
Prime Minister
France
Elisabeth Domitien
1925 - 2005
Prime Minister
Central African Republic
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf*
1938 -
President
Liberia
Ertha Pascal Trouillot
1943 -
Interim President
Haiti
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
1947 -
President
Philippines
Golda Meir
1898 - 1978
Prime Minister
Israel
Gro Harlem Brundtland
1939 -
Prime Minister
Norway
Han Myung-sook
1944 -
Prime Minister
South Korea
Hanna Suchocka
1946 -
Prime Minister
Poland
Helen Clark
1950 -
Prime Minister
New Zealand
Indira Gandhi
1917 - 1984
Prime Minister
India
Isabel Peron
1931 -
President
Argentina
Janet Jagan
1920 - 2009
Prime Minister
Guyana
Jennifer M. Smith
1947 -
Prime Minister
Bermuda
Jenny Shipley
1952 -
Prime Minister
New Zealand
Julia Gillard*
1961 -
Prime Minister
Australia
Kamla Persad Bissessar*
1952 -
Prime Minister
Trinidad and Tobago
Kazimiera Danuta Prunskiene
1943 -
Prime Minister
Lithuania
Khaleda Zia
1977 - 1981
Prime Minister
Bangladesh
Kim Campbell
1947
Prime Minister
Canada
Laura Chinchilla*
1959
President
Costa Rica
Lidia Gueiler Tejada
1921 - 2011
Prime Minister
Bolivia
Luisa Diogo
1958 -
Prime Minister
Mozambique
Mame Madior Boye
1940 -
Prime Minister
Senegal
Margaret Thatcher
1925 -
Prime Minister
Great Britain
Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo
1930 - 2004
Prime Minister
Portugal
Maria das Neves
1958 -
Prime Minister
Sao Tome and Principe
Maria Liberia-Peters
1941 -
Prime Minister
Netherlands Antilles
Mary McAleese
1951 -
President
Ireland
Mary Robinson
1944 -
President
Ireland
Megawati Sukarnoputri
1947 -
President
Indonesia
Micheline Calmy-Rey
1945 -
President
Switzerland
Michelle Bachelet
1951 -
President
Chile
Milka Planinc
1924 - 2010
Federal Prime Minister
Yugoslavia
Mireya Moscoso
1946 -
President
Panama
Nyam-Osoriyn Tuyaa
NA
Acting Prime Minister
Mongolia
Pamela Gordon
1955 -
Premier
Bermuda
Portia Simpson Miller*
1945 -
Prime Minister
Jamaica
Pratibha Devisingh Patil*
1934 -
President
India
Reneta Indzhova
1953 -
Interim Prime Minister
Bulgaria
Ruth Dreifuss
1940 -
President
Switzerland
Sabine Bergmann-Pohl
1946 -
President
German Democratic Republic
Sheikh Hasina Wajed
1968 - 2009
Prime Minister
Bangladesh
Sirimavo Bandaranaike
1916 - 2000
Prime Minister
Sri Lanka
Susanne Camelia-Romer
NA
Prime Minister
Netherlands Antilles
Sylvie Kinigi
1952
Prime Minister
Burundi
Tansu Ciller
1944
Prime Minister
Turkey
Tarja Halonen*
1943 -
President
Finland
Vaira Vike-Freiberga
1937 -
President
Latvia
Vigdis Finnbogadottir
1930 -
President
Iceland
Violeta Chamorro
1929 -
President
Nicaragua
Yingluck Shinawatra*
1967 -
Prime Minister
Thailand
Yulia Tymoshenko
1960 -
Prime Minister
Ukraine
Zinaida Greceanii
1956 -
Prime Minister
Moldova
* indicates currently serving in office
These women are important leaders who have changed the world for the better. There are many other women leaders who have reached great heights. Some of them were born leaders, while others learned the skills and qualities required to become good leaders. They are competent, efficient, broad-minded and straightforward. They are ethical and could show sound judgment, while being passionate about their vision. Let us hope that other women emulate these women leaders and be instrumental in world progress.