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.
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.
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.
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.
Brazilian economist and politician Dilma Rousseff served as the president of Brazil from 2011 to 2016, becoming the first Brazilian woman president. She has also served as former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Chief of Staff earlier and has been part of various energy-conservation groups.
Pratibha Patil served as the president of India from 2007 to 2012 and was the first and only woman to have held the position. The INC member had also been the governor of the Indian state of Rajasthan earlier. She had started her political career as an MLA from Jalgaon.
The first lady president in the world, Argentine cabaret dancer-turned-politician Isabel Martínez de Perón had taken over the presidency after her husband, President Juan Perón’s death. After being ousted by the military in 1976, she was under a 5-year house arrest. She now lives in a secluded villa near Madrid.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a Filipino politician and academic. From 2001 to 2010, Arroyo served as the president of the Philippines. Before serving as the president, Arroyo served as a senator and as the vice president of the Philippines. She later served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2018 to 2019.
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Dalia Grybauskaitė became the first female president of Lithuania and the first to be re-elected. Popularly known as Lithuania’s Iron Lady and often compared to Margaret Thatcher, she has also been the UN Commissioner of the Year. A black belt in karate, she has mastery over four languages.
Chandrika Kumaratunga is a Sri Lankan politician who became the first female president when she was elected as the president of Sri Lanka in 1994. Having served as the president from 1994 to 2005, Kumaratunga is the only female Sri Lankan president to date. She also served as the head of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party from 1994 to 2006.
The only woman to ever serve as the president of Nicaragua, Violeta Chamorro, was born to an affluent cattle rancher and was mostly educated in the U.S. She was married to La Prensa heir Pedro Joaquim Chamorro Cardenal and later took over the operations of the paper.
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A qualified doctor and a lung diseases specialist, Sabine Bergmann-Pohl had been the head of state of East Germany before the German reunification. She has also led the Volkskammer as its president and was the Federal Minister for Special Affairs under Helmut Kohl. The mother of two is a Protestant.
The first female president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, had worked as an NGO consultant in Africa and Latin America before stepping into politics. The National Liberation Party member has earned several honorary doctorates and now teaches public policy at Georgetown University. Though an LGBT sympathizer, she opposes same-sex marriages.
Mireya Moscoso is a Panamanian politician who became the first female president of Panama in 1999. Previously married to three-time president Arnulfo Arias, she assumed control of his political party, the Arnulfista Party (PA), after his death. Her tenure as the president was marred by corruption scandals, and she was succeeded by Martín Torrijos in 2004.