12 Countries You Didn’t Know Were Once Led by Female Leaders

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While a lot of media attention has been given to the U.S. presidential race lately, which could potential see the country being led by the first female president, Hilary Clinton, many did not know that there are many other countries which have had a female head of state before. Here are the 12 countries that were once led by female leaders, some even way before the U.S potentially might be led by one.


1) United Kingdom

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher was the first ever woman to lead a political party in the United Kingdom until 1990.

Image Credit: ceoworld.biz
Image Credit: ceoworld.biz

2) Argentina

Argentina is the only country on this list that has appointed 2 different female head of states. In 2007, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was elected president and went on to serve Argentina till 2015.

Image Credit: wikimedia.org
Image Credit: wikimedia.org

3) Sri Lanka

Sirimavo Bandaranaike served as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka three times in 1960, 1970 and 1994.

Image Credit: ft.lk
Image Credit: ft.lk

4) India

Who can forget the iconic Indira Gandhi? The late Indira became the only female Prime Minister of India in 1966.

Image Credit: timeinc.net
Image Credit: timeinc.net

5) Iceland

The first female president of Iceland and Europe was Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, who was elected in 1980. She also happened to be the first ever single lady in Iceland to adopt a child.

Image Credit: icelandmag.visir.is
Image Credit: icelandmag.visir.is

6) Norway

As Norway’s first female prime minister in 1986, Gro Harlem Brundtland was also a doctor by profession.

Image Credit: ytimg.com
Image Credit: ytimg.com

7) Philippines

Even the Philippines have had a female president in 1986 in the form of Corazon Aquino.

Image Credit: timeinc.net
Image Credit: timeinc.net

8) Pakistan

Who can forget the iconic elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988, Benazir Bhutto? Politics was her life and passion until she was shot at a rally in 2007.

Image Credit: timeinc.net
Image Credit: timeinc.net

9) Ireland

The first female Irish president in 1990 was Mary Robinson. She served for 7 years until she took up a position as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her successor was Mary McAleese, which made her the first female president to take charge after another female president.

Image Credit: independent.ie
Image Credit: independent.ie

10) Germany

Angela Merkel has been doing wonders for Germany as the Chancellor of Germany, a post that she has been in charge of since 2005. It’s because of Angela that Germany is the fourth largest global economy.

Image Credit: pinimg.com
Image Credit: pinimg.com

11) Liberia

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was the first Liberian president in 2006 and is still is to this day, which makes her the first female head of state in the whole of Africa.

Image Credit: gonzaga.edu
Image Credit: gonzaga.edu

12) Brazil

Dilma Rousseff became the first female president of Brazil when she was elected in 2011.

Image Credit: forbes.com
Image Credit: forbes.com