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We're taking over the world!

September 20, 2011 - Karin Elton
I stumbled across this top 10 list today — time.com’s list of top female leaders around the world. I didn’t realize there were so many women at the top spot in world government. I knew about Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, and that’s about it.

Julia Gillard Australia I was most stunned to discover that Australia’s prime minister is a woman, Julia Gillard. Where have I been?

Helle Thorning-Schmidt Denmark Also on the list is Helle Thorning-Schmidt, leader of Denmark's Social Democrats.

Yingluck Shinawatra Thailand In Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra's only political qualification is that she's the youngest sister of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said time.com

Angela Merkel Germany Angela Merkel earned a doctorate in physics in East Germany before turning her eye to politics, the website noted.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner Argentina “Elected Argentina’s president in November 2007 (thereby succeeding her husband Néstor Kirchner), Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has proved she is her own woman.”

Dilma Rousseff Brazil "I would like parents who have daughters to look straight in their eyes and tell them, 'Yes, a woman can,'" Dilma Rousseff said following her victory in Brazil's runoff election in October 2010. When she took the reins of the world's fourth largest democracy on Jan. 1, 2011, she became the South American country's first female President.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Liberia “Educated at the University of Wisconsin and at Harvard, Africa's first female president served as Liberia's minister of finance in the late 1970s. But when Samuel Doe seized power in a military coup in 1980 and executed the president and several Cabinet members, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf fled to Kenya, where she became a director at Citibank. She returned to contest the 1996 presidential election and lost to Charles Taylor. In 2005, she ran again and won, promising to bring motherly sensitivity and emotion to the presidency — a tall order in a country still reeling from years of civil war.”

Sheik Hasina Wajed Bangladesh “Sheik Hasina Wajed, the 63-year-old leader of the left-of-center Awami League, has a history of surviving. During a 1975 coup d'état, assassins killed 17 members of her family — including her son, three brothers, mother and father, former Prime Minister Sheik Mujibur Rahman. Hasina, then 28, happened to be abroad at the time. She later survived a grenade attack that killed more than 20 people, dodging the bullets that sprayed her car as she fled. Hasina was first elected prime minister in 1996. But in 2001, Transparency International named Bangladesh as the most corrupt country in the world, and Hasina was ousted in a landslide. That wasn't the end of her, though. In January 2009, the Awami League won 230 of 299 parliamentary seats, and the consummate survivor found herself prime minister — again.”

Johanna Sigurdardottir Iceland “After Iceland's economy collapsed in October 2008, Johanna Sigurdardottir rode a wave of discontent all the way to the premiership. It wasn't exactly surprising: the former flight attendant turned politician had won eight consecutive elections since entering Parliament in 1978, making her the country's longest-serving parliamentarian and one of its most popular. In addition to being Iceland's first female prime minister, Sigurdardottir, 68, is also the world's first openly gay head of state.”

Tarja Halonen Finland “Brought up in a working-class family in downtown Helsinki, Tarja Halonen has created a highly successful political career by building ties with trade unions and nongovernmental organizations. Serving as president since 2000...”

Laura Chinchilla Costa Rica

“A former vice president under Nobel laureate Oscar Arias Sánchez, Laura Chinchilla won 47 percent of the vote in Costa Rica's February 2010 presidential election. In a country increasingly concerned about crime, the center-leftist played up her security experience: she previously served as both public security minister and justice minister in the National Liberation Party. A social conservative, she opposes gay marriage, abortion and the legalization of the morning-after pill.”

Dalia Grybauskaite Lithuania “After Dalia Grybauskaite came to power in 2009, European journalists quickly dubbed her ‘Lithuania's Iron Lady,’ owing to her steely way with words and her black belt in karate.”

Kamla Persad-Bissessar “Kamla Persad-Bissessar, leader of the United National Congress, oversees a coalition of five political parties. Since being sworn in on May 26, 2010, the onetime attorney general has laid out ambitious plans to tackle the country's growing murder rate, boost pensions and slash the number of people living in poverty (currently one-fifth of the population).”

 
 

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