18 Women Who Have Already Ruled Nations

By Chika Dunu, Epoch Times
July 28, 2016 Last Updated: July 28, 2016

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.  

A photo dated Jan. 24, 1976, of Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, in 1974. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo dated Jan. 24, 1976, of Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, in 1974. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)

Margaret Thatcher—the first female Prime Minister of Britain, ruled from 1979-1990.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher attends the 5th Franco-British summit, on September 09, 1980 in Paris. (GABRIEL DUVAL/AFP/Getty Images)
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Sept. 9, 1980, in Paris. (GABRIEL DUVAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Kim Campbell—served as the 19th Prime Minister of Canada in 1993 and is the only woman to hold the position.

Former Prime Minister of Canada Kim Campbell takes questions at the International Women Leaders Global Security Initiative 16 November, 2007 in New York. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Prime Minister of Canada Kim Campbell on Nov. 16, 2007, in New York. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Helen Clark—the second woman Prime Minister of New Zealand led the country from 1999 to 2008. 

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark speaks during a press conference at Permanent Mission of New Zealand to the United Nations in New York on April 4, 2016. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark in New York on April 4, 2016. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Tarja Halonen—Finland’s first female president, from 2000 to 2012.

Finland's President Tarja Halonen delivers a speech at the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg, eastern France, on January 25, 2012. (FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Finland’s President Tarja Halonen in Strasbourg, eastern France, on Jan. 25, 2012. (FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—In 2006, Sirleaf became Liberia’s first elected female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state. Incumbent.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia, addresses the General Assembly of the United Nations at the UN headquarters on September 29, 2015 in New York City. ( John Moore/Getty Images)
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia, at the UN headquarters on Sept. 29, 2015, in New York City. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Julia Gillard—was the first woman and 27th Prime Minister of Australia, from 2010 to 2013.

 Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks during the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), on September 24, 2014 in New York City. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sept. 24, 2014, in New York City. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Atifete Jahjaga—the first female president of the Republic of Kosovo, from 2011 to 2016.

Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga walks past a Kosovar guard of honour as she arrives at the Assembly of Kosovo, the Kosovoso parliament building, on March 19, 2016 in Pristina, Kosovo. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga arriving the Kosovoso parliament building, on March 19, 2016, in Pristina, Kosovo. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Joyce Banda—President of Malawi from 2012 to 2014; Forbes named her as the 40th most powerful woman in the world in 2014.

 Malawi President Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda addresses the U.N. General Assembly on September 24, 2013 in New York City. (Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images)
Malawi President Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013, in New York City. (Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images)

Marie Louise Coleiro Preca—became the second woman to serve as president of Malta in 2014. Incumbent.

Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta, speaks to the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 27, 2015. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta, at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 27, 2015. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Ameenah Gurib—became the first woman elected president of Mauritius in 2015. Incumbent.

President of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib attends the 16th Doha Forum in the Qatari capital Doha on May 21, 2016. (KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)
President of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib attends the 16th Doha Forum in the Qatari capital Doha on May 21, 2016. (KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Simonetta Sommaruga—served as president of the Swiss Confederation from January 2015 to December 2015.

The President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga addresses a joint press conference with the European Commission president following their meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on December 21, 2015. (THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP/Getty Images)
The President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Dec. 21, 2015. (THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Theresa May—became British Prime Minister in 2016 after the vote to leave the EU. Incumbent.

UK PM Teresa May attends a press conference at the end of a meeting with Italian PM Matteo Renzi at Villa Pamphili, on July 27, 2016 in Rome Italy. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in Rome, Italy, on July 27, 2016. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

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.