Here Are All The Countries That Have Had Female Leaders Before The US

by Alexandra Svokos

America could have elected its first female president on November 8 with Hillary Clinton.

Instead, it chose a racist, misogynistic demagogue who has been publicly accused of assault by a dozen women.


In the 230 years of American history, our leaders have been exclusively male. We reinforced this on Election Day.

These 59 countries around the world have been more progressive than America. They have all had a female leader while the United States still has yet to.

These countries include places where women's rights are not as well protected as they are in America. The list includes countries Republicans refer to when they decide to discuss women not being respected.

Not all of the women were elected. Some assumed office and were appointed. Not all were inspiring or generally good leaders, and not all had successful terms.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan was assassinated after holding the office. Former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana of Rwanda was assassinated in office.

But they were women, and they served.

1. Sri Lanka

Wikimedia Commons

Former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, 1960

2. India

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, 1966

3. Israel

Former Prime Minister Golda Meir, 1969

4. Argentina

Former President Isabel Perón, 1974

5. Central African Republic

Former Prime Minister Elisabeth Domitien, 1975

6. United Kingdom

Wikimedia Commons

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 1979

7. Portugal

Former Prime Minister Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo, 1979

8. Dominica

Former Prime Minister Eugenia Charles, 1980

9. Iceland

Former President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, 1980

10. Norway


Former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, 1981

11. Malta

Former President Agatha Barbara, 1982

12. Philippines

Former President Corazon Aquino, 1986

13. Pakistan

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, 1988

14. Nicaragua

Former President Violeta Barrios Torres de Chamorro, 1990

15. Ireland

Former President Mary Robinson, 1990

16. Lithuania

Former Prime Minister Kazimira Danutė Prunskienė, 1990

17. Bangladesh

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Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, 1991

18. France

Former Prime Minister Édith Cresson, 1991

19. Poland

Former Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka, 1992

20. Burundi

Former Prime Minister Sylvie Kinigi, 1993

21. Canada

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Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, 1993

22. Rwanda

Former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, 1993

23. Turkey

Former Prime Minister Tansu Çiller, 1993

24. Haiti

Former Prime Minister Claudette Werleigh, 1995

25. Guyana

Former President Janet Rosenberg, 1997

26. New Zealand

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Former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, 1997

27. Latvia

Former President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, 1999

28. Panama

Former President Mireya Moscoso Rodríguez, 1999

29. Switzerland

Former President Ruth Dreifuss, 1999

30. Finland

Former President Tarja Halonen, 2001

31. Indonesia

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Former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, 2001

32. Senegal

Former Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye, 2001

33. São Tomé and Príncipe

Former Prime Minister Maria das Neves, 2002

34. Peru

Former Prime Minister Beatriz Merino, 2003

35. Macedonia

Former Prime Minister Radmila Šekerinska, 2004

36. Mozambique

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Former Prime Minister Luísa Diogo, 2004

37. Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel, 2005

38. Ukraine

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Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, 2005

39. Chile

President Michelle Bachelet, 2006

40. Jamaica

Former Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, 2006

41. Liberia

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 2006

42. South Korea

Former Prime Minister Han Myung-sook, 2006

43. Moldova

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Former Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanîi, 2008

44. Croatia

Former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, 2009

45. Costa Rica

Former President Laura Chinchilla, 2010

46. Australia

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, 2010

47. Kyrgyzstan

Former President Roza Otunbayeva, 2010

48. Slovakia

Former Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, 2010

49. Trinidad and Tobago

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Former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, 2010

50. Denmark

Former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, 2011

51. Kosovo

Former President Atifete Jahjaga, 2011

52. Mali

Former Prime Minister Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé, 2011

53. Thailand

Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, 2011

54. Malawi

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Former President Joyce Banda, 2012

55. Slovenia

Former Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek, 2013

56. Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Former Prime Minister Sibel Siber, 2013

57. Brazil

Former President Dilma Rousseff, 2011

58. Mauritius

President Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, 2015

59. Namibia

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, 2015

Citations: Time, CNN