The most influential women political leaders

By George Garza
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Around the world and in the U.S. women have stepped into powerful and historical roles as leaders and policy-makers, being the first in their respective countries to become presidents, chancellors and top-ranking government officials
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There are many female political leaders all over the world.

Princess Diana and Mother Theresa are two women who attracted a lot of attention while they were alive. But they were not political leaders. Indira Ghandi and Benazir Bhutto were political leaders of India and Pakistan before they were assassinated.


Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain made her mark in her time and maybe Senator Hillary Clinton will make a mark in these times. But these are not the only women political leaders; there are many all over the world.




President Borjana Kristo, Bosnia (2007- )


As a Bosnian Croat politician, she is the incumbent president of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina since February 22, 2007. She is first woman to hold the position.


Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, Ukraine (2007- )


She is a Ukrainian politician and current Prime Minister of the Ukraine. She is the leader of the All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" party. She was a successful but controversial businesswoman in the gas industry.


Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany (2005- )


Merkel is the first woman to become chancellor of Germany and the first woman to lead Germany since it became a modern nation-state in 1871. She is interested in reforms to improve Germany's economy especially by reducing costs and red tape and raising sales tax.


President Tarja Halonen, Finland (2000- )


Tarja Halonen is the eleventh and current President of Finland. She began her first six-year term of office in 2000 and was re-elected on January 29, 2006.


President Mary McAleese, Ireland (1997- )


McAleese is Ireland's second female president and the first woman to succeed another woman as an elected head of state. She was first elected president in 1997 and was re-elected to another seven-year term in 2004.


South America


Executive President Cristina E. Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina (2007- )


She is Argentina's second female president (after Isabel Perón), but the first to be elected. Sworn in on December 10, 2007, she became the first wife in history to be elected to succeed her husband as a president.


Executive President Michelle Bachelet Jeria, Chile (2006- )


She campaigned on a platform of increasing social benefits to the minimize the gap between rich and poor while continuing Chile's free market policies. She was inaugurated in 2006.


South Asia


President Pratibha Patil, India (2007 - )


Pratibha Patil is the current President of India and its first. However historic her ascendancy has been, she has been embroiled in several controversies involving financial mismanagement.




Executive President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia (2006- )


Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the current president of Liberia, and Africa's first elected female head of state as well as Liberia's first elected female president. Harvard educated with a master's degree in Public Administration, in 1997 she became Leader of the Unity Party and Presidential Candidate. She became President in 2006.  

Prime Minister Luísa Días Diogo, Moçambique (2005- )


Luísa Dias Diogo has been the prime minister of Mozambique since February 2004 replacing Pascoal Mocumbi, the previous prime minister of nine years. Prior to becoming prime minister she was Minister of Planning and Finance, where she held that post until February 2005. 


North America


Governor-General Michaëlle Jean, Canada (2005- )


She was responsible for a study involving spousal abuse and women victims. She has made many documentary films involving women and domestic violence. Her parents were Haitian immigrants who fled the Duvalier regime in 1968. She is a former university literature professor, social activist and veteran CBC broadcaster from Quebec.


Speaker of the House, United States Congress Nancy Pelosi (2006 -)


First elected to Congress in 1987, she has become the Democratic Party leader and Speaker of the House. She represents the 8th Congressional district located in San Francisco.


Secretary of State Condelezza Rice United States (2005 - )


She has been with President Bush for years. She was National Security Advisor 2001-2004, and in 2005 became the second female Secretary of State.


The Pacific Region


President Maria Macapagal-Arroyo Phillipines ( 2006 - )


Coming from a political family, her father was President Diosdado Macapagal but Maria Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal-Arroyo is the current president of the Philippines and the country's second female president. She has been a stable example in a country that until about 25 years ago was run by a dictator.


Prime Minister Helen Clark, New Zealand (1999- )


Helen Clark rose to the top of New Zealand politics after almost thirty years of involvement with the Labour Party. Her story began in New Zealand's conservative heartland. As prime minister she has helped push the country to be nuclear free and to push for environmentally friendly laws.


The Forbes 100 List

Forbes takes a look at worldwide women political leaders for 2007 on their "100 Most Powerful Women" list.

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