Current Female Leaders
Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany
1990 Deputy Spokesperson of the Government of the DDR, 1990-98 Deputy Chairperson of CDU, 1991-94 Federal Minister Women and Youth and 1994-98 Federal Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Reactor Safety, 1993-2000 Chairperson of CDU in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 1998-2000 Federal Secretary General and since 2000 Federal Chairperson of CDU and 2002-05 also Parliamentary Leader, Chairperson of the European Council and President of the Group of Eight, G-8 in 2007. Née Kasner and married secondly to Joachim Sauer, no children. (b. 1954-).
President Park Geun-hye, South Korea
MP 1998-2012, Chairperson of the Grand National Party 2004-06, Candidate in the party primaries for presidential candidate in 2008, Leader of Saenuri (Renamed GNP) 2011-12. (b. 1952-).
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Namibia
Director-General of the National Planning Commission 1997-2003 and Minister of Finance 2003-15. (b. 1967-).
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Bangladesh
Also Prime Minister 1996-2001. Her father, Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920-72-75), and most of her family was killed during a military coup in 1975 when she and her sister were abroard. Returned to Bangladesh in 1981, President of the Awami Leauge from 1981, Opposition Leader 1986-87 and 1991-96 and 2001-06. In 1983, she formed the 15-party alliance to launch a movement to oust General Ershad from power and was in and out of prison throughout the 1980s and was under house arrest a few times. Her party, along with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by Begum Khaleda Zia, was instrumental in the movement against the military rule. 2007 she was arrested on corruption and murder charges, but was allowed to go to USA for medical treatment in 2007 though the military supported care-taker government tried to pressure her into exile. Returned in November 2008 to lead her party in the election campaign, which her party won overwealmingly. Married to the nuclear scientist Dr M. A. Wazed Miah and mother a son, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, and a daughter, Saima Wazed Putul, who both lives in the USA. (b. 1947- ).
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark
Social Democrat Member of the European Parliament 1999-2004 and Member of the Parliament, Party Chairperson from 2005 and Chairperson of the European Council, the rotating presidency of the European Union. Married to Stephen Kinnock and mother of two daughters. (b. 1966-).
Acting Head of State Catherine Samba-Panza, Central African Republic
Businesswoman and corporate lawyer. Appointed Mayor of the capital Bangui in 2013 by the former interim government before she was elected Interim President. (b. 1954-).
President Simonetta Sommaruga, Switzerland
Federal Councillor of Justice and Police and Substitute Councillor of Interiorfrom 2010. VicePresident in 2014.
President Dilma Vana Linhares Rousseff, Brazil
Dilma Rousseff is a former student leader who fought Brazil’s military dictatorship as a guerrilla during the early 1970s and an economist. Secretary of Mines, Energy and Communication of Rio Grande do Sul 1993-94 and 1999-2002, Minister of Mines and Energy 2003-05 and Minister and Secretary General of the Presidential Staff (Cabinet Chief) 2005-10. (b. 1947-).
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Croatia
Appointed Minister of European Integration in 2003 and was also Foreign Minister 2005-08. English and Spanish languages professor and former adviser in the Foreign Ministry. Finished second in the first round of the presidential elections in 2014 and won 50,5 % in the second round. (b. 1968-).
Executive President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia
1972-73 and 1977-79 Secretary of State of Finance, 1979-80 Minister of Finance, 1980 President of the National Bank, 1980-85 worked for the World Bank, 1985-86 in house arrest after her return, 1990-92 Leading member of exile-government of Amos Sawyer in United States of America, 1992-97 African Director of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program). From 1997 Leader of the Unity Party. Presidential Candidate in 1997, Candidate for the Chairmanship of the National Transitional Government in 2003 and finally won the presidential elections in November 2005. She is divorced, mother of a number of children, and grandmother. (b. 1938-).
Executive President Michelle Bachelet Jeria, Chile
2000-02 Minister of Health, 2002-04 Minister of Defence and President for the first time 2006-10. Her father, a general, was killed by the Pinochet dictatorship. She had two children with her first husband and a daughter with her former partner. (b. 1952-).
Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Norway
Deputy Leader of Høyre 2002-04 and Party Leader from 2004, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development 2001-05, Deputy to the Prime Minister 2004-05. Married to Sindre Finnes and mother of 2. (b. 1961-).
Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Jamaica
Also Prime Minister 2006-07. Since 1976 MP, 1976-82 Parliamentary Secretary of the Prime Minister, Deputy President of People’s National Party 1978-2006 and President from 2006. Minister of Labour, Social Welfare and Sports 1989-2000, Candidate for the party leadership and Premiership in 1992, Minister of Tourism, Entertainment, Sports and Women’s Affairs 2000-02 and Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport 2002-06. Acting Prime Minister on various occasions whenever the chief of government was out of the country. 2006-2007 and from 2012 also Minister of Defence and a number of other portfolios. Opposition Leader 2007-11. (b. 1946-).
Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, Poland
Member of the Sejm 2001-2005 and from 2011 for Platforma Obywatelsk, Minister of Helth 2007-11 and Marshall of the Sejm from 2011. (b. 1956-)
Executive President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina
Won the first round of the presidential elections in October 2007 as candidate for Partido Justicalista. She was Member of the Assembly of Santa Cruz 1989-95 and 1. Vice-President of the Assembly in 1990, National Senator 1995-97 and again since 2001, National Deputy 1997-2001. President of the Senate Committee of Contitutional Affairs since 2001. Her late husband Néstor Carlos Kirchner (1950-2010) was President of Argentina 2003-07 and held a number of other posts. Mother of 2 children. (b. 1953-).
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