Women Heads of State

In 1953, the first woman head of state (president) was Suhbaataryn Yanjmaa of Mongolia. Through the years women’s political participation became more apparent as more women are elected as heads of state.

Those belonging to the Asia-Pacific region are highlighted.

The data source is Roberto Ortiz de Zarate's Political Collections (ZPC) http://personales.jet.es/ziaorarr/00women.htm , but the data has been reformatted. Click on underlined names to see a short article about that person on the ZPC page.

Name

Country

Year(s) Elected

PRESIDENTS

Suhbaataryn Yanjmaa

Mongolia

1953

  • Maria Estela Martinez de Peron
  • Argentina

    1974

  • Lydia Guelier Tejada
  • Bolivia

    1979

  • Vigdis Finnbogadottir
  • Iceland

    1980

  • Agatha Barbara
  • Malta

    1982

  • Corazon Aquino
  • Philippines

    1986

  • Ertha Pascal Trouillot
  • Haiti

    1990

  • Sabine Bergmann-Pohl
  • German Democratic Republic

    1990

  • Violeta Barrios de Chamorro
  • Nicaragua

    1990

  • Mary Robinson
  • Ireland

    1990

  • Chandrika Kumarantunge
  • Sri Lanka

    1994

  • Ruth Perry
  • Liberia

    1996

  • Mary McAleese
  • Ireland

    1997

  • Janet Jagan
  • Guyana

    1997

  • Ruth Dreifuss
  • Switzerland

    1998

  • Vaira Vike-Freiberga
  • Latvia

    1999

  • Mireya Elisa Moscoso de Arias
  • Panama

    1999

    PRIME MINISTERS

    Sirimavo Bandaranaike

    Sri Lanka

    1960; 1970; 1994

  • Indira Gandhi
  • India

    1966; 1980

  • Golda Meir
  • Israel

    1969

  • Elisabeth Domitien
  • Central African Republic

    1975

  • Margaret Thatcher
  • United Kingdom

    1979; 1983; 1987

  • Maria de Lurdes Pintasilgo
  • Portugal

    1979

  • Mary Eugenia Charles
  • Dominica

    1980

  • Gro Harlem Brundtland
  • Norway

    1981; 1986; 1990

  • Milka Planinc
  • Yugoslavia

    1982

  • Benazir Bhutto
  • Pakistan

    1988; 1993

  • Kazimiera Prunskiene
  • Lithuania

    1990

  • Khaleda Zia
  • Bangladesh

    1991

  • Edith Cresson
  • France

    1991

  • Hanna Suchocka
  • Poland

    1992

  • Kim Campbell
  • Canada

    1993

  • Tansu Ciller
  • Turkey

    1993

  • Sylvie Kinigi
  • Burundi

    1993

  • Agathe Uwilingiyimana
  • Rwanda

    1993

  • Chandrika Kumarantunge
  • Sri Lanka

    1994

  • Claudette Werleigh
  • Haiti

    1995

  • Shiekh Hasina Wajed
  • Bangladesh

    1996

  • Janet Jagan
  • Guyana

    1997

  • Jenny Shipley
  • New Zealand

    1997

     

    By the 1990s the number of women heads of state had increased greatly, although the increase is much slower in the Asia-Pacific region than globally:

    Year

    Number of
    Women Presidents

    Number of
    Women Prime Ministers

     

    Total

    Asia-Pacific

    Total

    Asia-Pacific

    1950 - 1959

    1

    1

    0

    0

    1960 - 1969

    0

    0

    3

    2

    1970 - 1979

    2

    0

    4

    1

    1980 - 1989

    3

    1

    8

    2

    1990 - 1999

    11

    1

    16

    6

    Interestingly, at least one out of five of these women is related to prominent political figures.

     


    Home page, What's new, Our Activities, About CAPWIP, Women's Participation, Resources, Center staff, Contact us
    Dated: 24Dec2000