While women rulers have led great empires as hereditary monarchs since ancient times, the first appointed female head of state didn't take office until 1960, when Sirivamo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka became the world's first female elected Premier, serving as head of the government. In 1974, Isabel Peron was secretly sworn in as President of Argentina following the death of her husband, Argentinian strongman Juan Peron, becoming the first woman in history to hold the top position of power.
Since then, it's become more and more common for women to be elected as the leaders of their nations. Many of the most powerful countries on earth, including Germany, India, Brazil, South Korea, Israel, Chile, and the United Kingdom have elected or appointed women as their heads of state. These women presidents and prime ministers have had command of nuclear weapons, powerful economies, vast populations, and - most importantly - the respect of their people.
Here is the complete list of current presidents or heads of government who are women.
- Chancellor of Germany since 2005Angela Dorothea Merkel (, German: [aŋˈɡeːla ˈmɛɐ̯kl̩]; née Kasner; born 17 July 1954) is a German politician serving as Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She served as the leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 2000 to 2018. Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world, and, following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, by many commentators as the new leader of the Free World.Merkel was born in Hamburg in then-West Germany and moved to East Germany as an infant when her father, a Lutheran clergyman, received a pastorate in Perleberg. She obtained a doctorate in quantum chemistry in ...more
- Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
- Nationality: Germany
- Prime Minister of Bangladesh since 2008Sheikh Hasina Wazed (Bengali: শেখ হাসিনা ওয়াজেদ; English: , SHAYK hə-SEE-nə; born 28 September 1947) is a Bangladeshi politician serving as the 10th Prime Minister of Bangladesh, having held the office since January 2009. She is the longest serving prime minister in the history of Bangladesh. She is the daughter of Bangladesh's first President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Hasina is the eldest of his five children. Her political career has spanned more than four decades. She previously served as opposition leader from 1986 to 1990 and from 1991 to 1995, as Prime Minister from 1996 to 2001, and has been leading the Bangladesh Awami League since 1981. In 2008, she returned as Prime Minister ...more
- Birthplace: Tungipara Upazila, Bangladesh
- Nationality: Bangladesh, Pakistan
- Prime Minister of Norway since 2013Erna Solberg (Norwegian: [ˌæːʁnɑ ²suːlbæʁɡ]; born 24 February 1961) is a Norwegian politician serving as Prime Minister of Norway since 2013 and Leader of the Conservative Party since May 2004.Solberg was first elected to be a member of the Storting in 1989 and served as Minister of Local Government and Regional Development in Bondevik's Second Cabinet from 2001 to 2005. During her tenure, she oversaw the tightening of immigration policy and the preparation of a proposed reform of the administrative divisions of Norway. After the 2005 election, she chaired the Conservative Party parliamentary group until 2013. Solberg has emphasized the social and ideological basis of the Conservative ...more
- Birthplace: Bergen, Norway
- Nationality: Norway
- Photo: The Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 4.0Prime Minister of Namibia since 2015Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila (born 12 October 1967) is the fourth and current Prime Minister of Namibia, in office since 21 March 2015. Kuugongelwa is a member of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO). She has been a member of the National Assembly of Namibia since 1995 and served as Minister of Finance from 2003 to 2015. She is the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Namibia. ...more
- Birthplace: Ovamboland
- Nationality: Namibia