The current chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel is widely described as the world's most powerful woman. Also considered the de facto leader of the European Union (EU), Angela Merkel has played an important role in strengthening international trade agreements. In 2020, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese politician and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. She is credited with co-founding the National League for Democracy, which eventually ended the rule of Myanmar's military junta. In 1999, she was named one of the Children of Gandhi by Time magazine for enduring almost 15 years of house arrest for the greater good of Myanmar.
United Kingdom’s first female Prime Minister and also the longest serving Prime Minister in the 20th century, Margaret Thatcher served three consecutive terms in the office from 1979 till 1990. Her political views and leadership approach, known as Thatcherism, got her the nickname of Iron Lady. Though controversial, she prominently ranks high in the list of the best British Prime Ministers.
The third Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi served as PM from 1966 till 1977 and then again from 1980 till her assassination in October 1984. She is considered one of India’s strongest PM and is hailed for leading India to victory over Pakistan in 1971, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. However, she is also categorised as authoritarian and is criticised for imposing Emergency in 1975.
Jacinda Ardern is the current Prime Minister of New Zealand. In October 2017, at the age of 37, she became the world's youngest female head of government. Ardern was praised for the way she led her country after the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019 and handled the COVID 19 pandemic. She led her party to victory in 2020 general elections.
Finland’s 46th prime minister, Sanna Marin has also previously been the country’s minister of transport and communications. A Social Democratic Party member, she was dragged into a controversy after a video of her partying and dancing became viral in 2022, with critics accusing her of drug abuse.
A courageous political leader, Shirley Chisholm made history when she became the first African-American woman to be elected the United States Congresswoman. Later, she yet again created history when she—though unsuccessfullyVran for Democratic Party's presidential nomination to contest for US presidency. Throughout her career, she advocated racial equality and women empowerment. As an author, she penned two books.
Jeanine Pirro is an American TV host and author. Over the years, she has made important contributions to The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, a syndicated morning talk show. As a former prosecutor and New York State judge, Jeanine Pirro played an important role in several cases involving crimes against the elderly and domestic abuse.
Born in present-day Ukraine and brought up in the United States, the phenomenal rise of Golda Meir to become the prime minister of Israel was driven by her sheer leadership qualities. She steered her country amid hostilities from its neighbourhood during her eventful term as premier which also saw the Yom Kippur War. She is remembered as a strong-willed woman.
Liberian politician, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, served as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. She was the first elected female head of state in Africa. An alumnus of the Harvard University, she began her political career in the 1970s and rose through the ranks with time. She is the recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
Taiwanese politician and academic, Tsai Ing-wen, is currently serving as the seventh president of the Republic of China (Taiwan). She has been in office since 2016. She is a member of the Democratic Progressive Party and the first female president of Taiwan. As the president, she has taken steps to fund green energy initiatives and supports LGBTQA+ rights.
Currently a member of the House of Representative from the 45th Congressional District in Orange County, California, American politician Katie Porter practiced law before taking up teaching as her full time profession. Eventually she won the 2018 election to the House and is now a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and deputy chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Carly Fiorina made history by becoming the first female head of a Dow Jones-listed company when she became the CEO of HP. The daughter of a law professor father, she had initially joined law school but then dropped out to study management. She has also been Ted Cruz’s vice-presidential running mate.
Park Geun-hye is a former politician from South Korea. In 2013, Park became the first woman to serve as the president of South Korea. She also became the first president from South Korea to be born after the establishment of the First Republic of Korea. In 2014, Park Geun-hye was named in Forbes magazine's world's most powerful people list.
French politician and lawyer Marine Le Pen, daughter of politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been the president of the National Rally since 2011. She is also serving as the member of the National Assembly for Pas-de-Calais's 11th constituency since 2017. She was previously a member of the European Parliament.
British MP and Labour Party politician Jo Cox had also worked with Oxfam. The world was shocked by the news of her brutal assassination in 2016. She was shot and stabbed multiple times by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair, who believed the white race was under threat due to leftist beliefs.
Born to Indian immigrant parents, Nikki Haley went on to become the first Indian-American to hold an office in South Carolina and later became its governor—the first woman and second Indian American to be appointed governor in the US. A published author, she has also served as the US ambassador to the United Nations.
A war veteran who lost both her legs during the Iraq War, Tammy Duckworth is a symbol of courage and resilience. Her never-say-die spirit enabled her to become the first woman with a disability and the first Thai-American woman to earn a seat in Congress. She is the first member of Senate to give birth while in office.
Glenda Jackson is best known for her Academy Award-winning roles in the films Women in Love and A Touch of Class. She has also won two Emmys for playing Elizabeth I in the TV series Elizabeth R and a Tony for her role in the play Three Tall Women.
Marie Curie and Pierre Curie’s daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, herself a brilliant scientist, won the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with her husband, Joliot-Curie, for discovering artificial radioactivity. She was also one of the first three female French government members. She tragically died of leukemia caused by exposure to radiation.
Linda McMahon is an American political executive and former professional wrestling executive. She is credited with co-founding Titan Sports, Inc., which is now called as WWE, Inc., along with her husband Vince McMahon. She then left WWE to focus on her political career; from 2017 to 2019, she served as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration under Trump’s presidency.
Lawyer and politician Kirsten Gillibrand is a member of the Democratic Party. Since 2009, she has served as the junior United States Senator from New York. An alumnus of the UCLA School of Law, she practiced law for a few years before entering politics. She is known for speaking against sexual harassment.
Benazir Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who served as Pakistan's prime minister in two separate terms and became the first woman in a Muslim majority nation to lead a democratic government. She was assassinated, at the age of 54, and after her death has been revered by many as an icon for women's rights.
Amber Rudd is a former politician who served as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions of the United Kingdom from 2018 to 2019. From 2016 to 2018, she served as Home Secretary under Prime Minister Theresa May. Also a humanitarian, Amber Rudd is part of an organization called Snowdon Trust, which helps disabled people access education.
Politician Michele Bachmann is a member of the Republican Party. She represented Minnesota in the United States House of Representatives and is the first Republican woman to represent the state in Congress. She is a lawyer by qualification and a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus. She has been criticized for her homophobic views and anti-abortion stance.
A Democrat politician and lawyer, Kamala Harris is the vice president-elect of the United States. She will assume the office on 20 January 2021, alongside President-elect Joe Biden. Half-Indian, half-Jamaican, Harris is the first woman, the first Black person and the first Asian-American to be elected vice president.
Sonia Gandhi is an Indian politician and president of one of the most prominent Indian political parties, The Indian National Congress. As the president of Indian National Congress, which has been one of India's most successful political parties in the country's post-independence history, Sonia Gandhi remains one of the most powerful women in India.
Known for her legal expertise and her resolve to fight corruption, Miriam Defensor Santiago also became the first Filipina and the first from an Asian developing country to serve as a judge of the International Criminal Court. The senator was also a Ramon Magsaysay Award recipient and died of lung cancer.
Jennifer Mulhern Granholm is a politician, lawyer, educator, and author. She is currently serving as the 16th United States Secretary of Energy, in office since February 2021. Previously, she was the 47th governor of Michigan, the first woman to serve in this position. She was made a Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star in 2010.