You may be familiar with some names on this list, but many of them will surprise you too! Here is a list of women who are currently in power as elected presidents, prime ministers and chancellors around the world.
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (age 76) is the 24th and current President of Liberia. Sirleaf is the first elected female head of state in Africa. The 1997 Presidential election in Liberia was her first attempt as a presidential candidate but she lost to Charles Taylor. In 2005 she made her second attempt as a presidential candidate and won. She took office on the 16th of January 2006. In 2011 she was reelected as President and continued for another term. Sirleaf was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakel Karman of Yemen for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. Sirleaf is divorced, mothering a number of children, and a grandmother.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (age 62) is the current President of Argentina. CFK, as called, is the second woman to serve as President of Argentina, the first directly elected female president and the first woman re-elected. She made made history in Argentina when she ran for the presidential election after the death of her husband, President Néstor Kirchner. She is a widow mothering two children.
Dilma Vana Linhares Rousseff (age 67) is the 36th and current President of Brazil. She is the first woman to hold the office. Between1970 and 1972, Rousseff was captured, jailed and reportedly tortured because she joined various left-wing and Marxist urban guerrilla groups that fought against the military dictatorship. After her release, Rousseff rebuilt her life and served in many ministerial offices and different political parties. In March 2010, she stepped down to run as a presidential candidate and was elected as President October 31, 2010 and re-elected October 26. She’s a proud mother and grandmother.
Atifete Jahjre (age 40) is the 4th and current President of Kosovo. She is the first female President of the Republic of Kosovo, the first non-partisan candidate, the first female head of state in the modern Balkans and the youngest to be elected to the presidential office. She had a successful police career before she was announced as a consensual candidate for president, April 6, 2011. And on April 7 of the same year, she was elected President on the first round of voting by the Parliament with 80 votes to 10 votes.
Park Geun-hye (age 63) is the 11th and current president of South Korea. She is the first woman to be elected as President in South Korea. As a member of the national assembly, Park Geun-hye, continued to flourish in the South Korean political world. Her eyes were set on presidency because she developed a clear goal of unifying and strengthening the nation as a whole. In 2007, Park lost the primaries to Lee Myung-bak, who went on to win the presidential election. In December 19, 2012, Park ran as presidential candidate again and won. Park was sworn in as president in February 2013. Park has never been married and has no children. Having succeed as the first female president is her most cherished achievement.
Michelle Bachelet Jeria (age 63) served as President of Chile from 2006–2010 and was re-elected in December 2013. Prior to this, Bachelet worked with various NGOs, health organizations including World Health Organization (W.H.O) and other ministerial appointemnts. In late 2004, she became the Socialists’ presidential candidate. In the runoff election on 15 January 2006, Bachelet won the presidency with 53.5% of the votes. She had two children with her first husband and a daughter with her former partner.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (age 47) serves as the President of Croatia since February 2015. Prior to this, she was an English language and Spanish language professor and also a former adviser in the Foreign Ministry. She also worked as a diplomatic councillor and minister councillor in various local and foreign Embassies. In mid-2014 Grabar-Kitarović confirmed that she would be runing as a presidntial candidate. On 11 January 2015, Grabar-Kitarović won 50.7% of the vote. She became Croatia’s first female president-elect and was ceremonially sworn into office on 15 February 2015. Grabar-Kitarović has been married to her husband Jakov Kitarović since 1996 and they have two children.
Sheikh Hasina Wajed (age 67) is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. In January 2014 she became the prime minister for the third time after winning the 2014 parliamentary election. Hasina served her first term as prime minister of Bangladesh from 1996-2001 during which there was an attempt to assasinate her. There were controversies about her administration during her first term as prime minister. During her second term as Prime Minister, 2009-2014, Hasina had to confront a major national crisis. Hasina was married to Dr. M. A. Wazed Mia in 1968. He died on 9 May 2009. She has one son and one daughter
Dalia Grybauskaite (age 59) is the current President of Lithuania. She is the country’s first female President and the first to be elected for a second term. Prior to her political career, she took up many ministerial appointments. On 26 February 2009, Grybauskaitė officially announced her candidacy for the 2009 presidential election alongside two women and four men running as presidential candidates.The election was held on 17 May 2009. Dalia Grybauskaitė won 69,1% of the valid vote. Political analysts attributed the easy victory to Grybauskaitė’s financial competence and her ability to avoid domestic scandals. Grybauskaitė is unmarried and has no children.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar (age 63) is the seventh Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She was the first woman to serve as Attorney General, acting Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition of Trinidad and Tobago. She is married to Dr. Gregory Bissessar and has one son.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt (age 48) has been the Prime Minister of Denmark since October 3, 2011 and she is the first woman to hold that post. During the first year in office, her government rolled back anti-immigration legislation enacted by the previous government and passed a tax-reform which lowered tax rates for high income earners. This decision encouraged more people to work and created other economic benefits. She is married with two daughters.
Portia Simpson Miller (age 69) is the current Prime Minister of Jamaica. She previously served as Prime Minister from March 2006 to September 2007. Simpson-Miller reportedly pledged to transform Jamaica into a republic. She became the first head of government in Jamaican history to formally endorse civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. She is married to Errald Miller, formerly CEO of Cable & Wireless Jamaica Ltd.
Erna Solberg (age 54) is the 28th and current Prime Minister of Norway since October 2013. She is the second female Prime Minister of Norway. In her term as minister, she oversaw the tightening of immigration policy and reformation of the administrative divisions of Norway. She is married with two children.
Laimdota Straujuma (age 64) has been Prime Minister of Latvia since 2014 and she is the first female to hold that position. Prior to this, she served as the seretary of state for over seven years before taking up a ministerial appointments.
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca (age 56) is the current and the 9th President of Malta since 4 April 2014. Coleiro Preca is the youngest person to assume the office of President, sworn in at the age of 55. In 2014, she formed ‘The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society’, a non-profit entity advising the President of Malta on initiatives to help improve social inclusion and standards of living. She is married with a child.
Ewa Kopacz (age 58) is currently the Prime Minister of Poland and the only woman to have held the post. She gained some degree of international fame by requesting pharmaceutical companies to present the advantages of swine flu vaccines, and demanding they take full responsibility for the side effects.
Angela Merkel (age 60) is the current Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She is the first woman and the first former citizen of the German Democratic Republic to hold either office. Merkel was President of the European Council and chaired the G8, the second woman (after Margaret Thatcher). On 28 May 2014, she was named the most powerful woman in the world by Forbes and was ranked as the world’s second most powerful person by Forbes magazine in 2013, the highest ranking ever achieved by a woman!