Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel assumed office in April 2000 and in the federal election of 2013, she won by a landslide of 41.5%. In 2007, she became only the second woman ever to chair the G8, and Forbes magazine has twice named her the world’s second most powerful person.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a list of women in politics without the woman of the hour, Hillary Clinton. As First Lady of the United States, Clinton got a taste of Presidential life and was the 67th Secretary of State from 2009 – 2013. She ran for President of the United States in the 2016 election although she lost out to Donald Trump amid a lot of controversy.
Actress and politician Angela Gerekou began her career in Greek cinema due to her stunning looks and charisma. She later took up a position as Vice-minister of Culture and Sport under George Papandreou’s cabinet. Angela is a woman who proves you can do it all, as she gave birth to daughter Maria in 2001.
Dilma Rousseff was the first woman to become the President of Brazil from 2011 to August 2016 when she was removed from office. Dilma is particularly inspirational as she grew up as the daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant and as an activist, in guerrilla groups, she ended up being captured and tortured.
Sonia Gandhi’s husband, former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi was sadly assassinated in 1991, and although she was asked to take over, she did not return to politics in 1997. She was elected President of the Congress party in 1998 and has since held many different positions in India, despite being born in Italy.
Michelle might be the First Lady, but that hasn’t stopped her from having a huge political impact on the United States separately from her husband. She works hard on campaigns around healthy eating in schools, LGBT+ rights, and inspiring women around the world to follow their dreams. She’s also really down to earth and friendly too!
Kathleen Sebelius was the Governor of Kansas between 2003 – 2009 and later, the 21st Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2009 – 2014. She was the first female chair of the Democratic Governors Association and the CEO of Sebelius Resources LLC. She is fiercely pro-choice and focuses on education and the environment.
Janet Napolitano was the 21st Governor of Arizona from 2003 until 2009 when she took over as United States Secretary of Homeland Security. Since 2013 Janet has been the President of the University of California and was ranked one of the most likely women to become the first President of the United States.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
Cristina is only the second ever woman to be the President of Argentina (between 2007 – 2015), although the only one to have been directly elected and then later re-elected. She was ranked highly in the list of most powerful women in the world in both 2008 and 2014. Cristina’s health, both mental and physical, was discussed at length during her time in the limelight.
The ironically named Margaret Hamburg was the 21st Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 2009 and 2015. She is a physician having earned her M.D from Harvard Medical School and in 2015, became the Foreign Secretary of the National Academy of Medicine.
Republican, Michele Bachmann represented Minnesota’s 6th congressional district in the House of Representatives between 2007 and 2015. She was also a candidate in 2012 for the Republican nomination in the Presidential election although she did not win. Michele is a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus.
Between 2010 to 2013, Julia Gillard was the 27th Prime Minister of Australia and is the only woman so far to have been the leader of a major Australian party as well as deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister. Julia was originally born in Wales, UK; however, her family moved to Australia when she was around 5 years old, and she has lived there ever since.
Mary is the first woman to have been the permanent Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a role that she held between 2009 and 2012. Mary Schapiro has also worked in administration during the offices of Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, George H. W Bush as well as, most recently, Barack Obama.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Burmese Aung San Suu Kyi is a record breaker of unbelievable proportions, being the first woman to gain roles such as the Minister of the President’s Office, the Minister of Electric Power and Energy and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar. Before her success, she was held under house arrest as a political prisoner.
Nancy Pelosi is the highest ranking female politician in US history, as well as being the only woman to have been the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives – a role she undertook between 2007 and 2011. She is known for supporting medical marijuana and LGBT rights, including gay marriage.
Yingluck was the youngest Prime Minister in over 60 years when she took the role in 2011, and was also the first ever female to be voted into the role. She was removed from office in 2014 due to being found guilty of abusing her power and during a military coup she was arrested.
President of Liberia was elected into office in 2005 and re-elected in 2011, making her the first female head of state in Africa who has been elected. She also became Chair of the Economic Community of West African States in 2016 – another role which she is the first female to hold.
Laura Chinchilla was Costa Rica’s president between 2010 and 2014 which made her the first female president of the country ever. One of her biggest focuses during her time as President was education. Since her term in office has ended, she now teaches at Georgetown University.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala consistently appears high on Forbes’, Fortune and TIME Magazine’s list of influential people and powerful women and it’s’ easy to see why. For two terms between 2003 – 2006 and 2011 – 2015, she was the Finance Minister of Nigeria and was also the first black and female person to contest for World Bank Group presidency.
A unique woman in many respects, Tulsi Gabbard, is the first Hindu member of the United States Congress and holds the title of one of the first female combat veterans. She became the United States Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district in 2013 and was a proud supporter of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Presidential nominations.
The other woman who shares Tulsi’s accolade of being one of the first female combat veterans, Tammy Duckworth is one of Illinois’ Senator-elect and a US Representative of Illinois’s 8th congressional district – a position she has held since 2013. She is also the first Asian-American woman elected from Illinois to Congress, and the first disabled woman to be elected to the House of Representatives.
Canadian, Liberal Ruby Dhalla was one of the first Sikh women (alongside Nina Grewal) to be part of the Canadian House of Commons. In 2011 she was beaten in the federal election by Parm Gill from the Conservative party. She is also a Doctor of Chiropractic and an actress appearing in Hindi-language films.
Eunice is an actress, host and winner of the 2000 Miss Singapore Universe pageant. As well as being beautiful and talented she was also the youngest Nominated Member of Parliament in 2004 at the age of 27. She is also an avid charity campaigner, working with causes such as the environment, AIDS awareness and people with disabilities.
Eva was the youngest elected member of the Thessaloniki City Council in 2002 and in 2009 became a member of the Hellenic Parliament for the first district of Thessaloniki, to name just two achievements. In 2014 she became a MEP on the PASOK Elia list for the European Parliament election.
Ukrainian-born Yulia Tymoshenko was the first female Prime Minister of Ukraine, first in 2005 and then between 2007 and 2010. In 2014, she was beaten by Petro Poroshenko who won by a landslide. There was a lot of controversy surrounding her throughout her career including an embezzlement conviction and claims of abuse of power.
Michela Vittoria Brambilla
Michela began her career as a television journalist and the heir to a wealthy family business in steel. In 2008 she became the Undersecretary of Tourism in the Berlusconi IV Cabinet and between 2009 and 2011, she was Minister of Culture and Tourism.
Magdalena Agnieszka Ogórek
Magdalena is a member of the Democratic Left Alliance in Poland and for several years, worked in the Prime Minister’s Office undertaking various internships and job roles. She was an associate of Grzegorz Napieralski of the Democratic Left Alliance for a few years before becoming a member of Presidential Election Staff. In 2015 she stood as a candidate in the Polish Presidential Election but was unsuccessful.
Maria Carfagna is a woman of so many talents, having earned a Law degree and worked as a model and showgirl before joining politics in 2006 when she was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for Forza Italia party. She later became Minister for Equal Opportunity in Berlusconi IV Cabinet between 2008 – 2011.
MEP of the New Forza Italia party, Licia Ronzulli is known for pictures showing her with her young daughter, Vittoria at European Parliament plenary sessions – wearing her in a sling and showing that you can be a mother and a political force at the same time. She has a degree in psychology and was a hospital director in both Milan and Bangladesh.
Although Nicole began her career as a TV personality, who found herself connected to former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi. From here, she established a political career of her own, and became the regional councilor for the PdL from 2010 – 2012, during the XVI Legislature.