18 Women Who Have Already Ruled Nations
Hillary Clinton became part of American history as the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party on July 26.
While her nomination is an historic feat in the United States, women have held the highest national offices for centuries.
See below for a host of other women who were elected to the top government position.
Indira Gandhi served as India’s only female Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and again from 1980 until she was assassinated in 1984.
Margaret Thatcher—the first female Prime Minister of Britain, ruled from 1979-1990.
Kim Campbell—served as the 19th Prime Minister of Canada in 1993 and is the only woman to hold the position.
Helen Clark—the second woman Prime Minister of New Zealand led the country from 1999 to 2008.
Tarja Halonen—Finland’s first female president, from 2000 to 2012.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—In 2006, Sirleaf became Liberia’s first elected female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state. Incumbent.
Julia Gillard—was the first woman and 27th Prime Minister of Australia, from 2010 to 2013.
Atifete Jahjaga—the first female president of the Republic of Kosovo, from 2011 to 2016.
Joyce Banda—President of Malawi from 2012 to 2014; Forbes named her as the 40th most powerful woman in the world in 2014.
Marie Louise Coleiro Preca—became the second woman to serve as president of Malta in 2014. Incumbent.
Ameenah Gurib—became the first woman elected president of Mauritius in 2015. Incumbent.
Simonetta Sommaruga—served as president of the Swiss Confederation from January 2015 to December 2015.
Theresa May—became British Prime Minister in 2016 after the vote to leave the EU. Incumbent.
Women Rulers From Years Back
Although not democratically elected, these women ruled their countries, sometimes for decades.
Cleopatra was the Pharaoh of Ptolemaic for 21 years from March, 51 BC–August 12, 30 BC.
Queen Mary ruled England and Ireland from 1553 to 1558; then Elizabeth I took over from 1558 to 1603.
Queen Anne became the Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland on 1702, then ruled as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1707 to 1714.
Victoria was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain from 1837 until 1901.