By Asma Naim
The International Women’s Day is approaching and a lot of politicians are speaking about women empowerment and leadership. I decided, therefore, to create a list of 2016 Women Political Leaders around the world. The results show that women’s presence among political leaders is still the exception, not the rule.
I prepared two lists: one with Heads of State (Presidents or Queens, vested with powers to represent the country) and Heads of Government (commonly, highest chiefs of the executive branch). Of the two lists combined, we find only 22 female leaders. It represents only 6,9% of the total number of political leaders in the world (315).
1) Heads of State
There are 178 Heads of State in the World and only 15 of them are women. They represent only 8.4% of the total number. Almost half of them (7) are in Europe and a quarter (3) in South America. Among them, 13 are Presidents and 2 are Queens.
Nepal – Bidhya Devi Bhandari (President since 2015)
South Korea – Park Geun-hye(President since 2013 and the first female Head of State in Northeastern Asia)
Marshall Islands – Hilda Heine(President since 2016 and the first woman to hold the office in this country)
Central African Republic – Catherine Samba-Panza(President interim since 2014)
Mauritius – Ameenah Gurib(President since 2015 and the first popularly elected female head of state in this country)
Liberia – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf(President since 2006 and the world’s first elected black female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state)
Croatia – Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (President since 2015)
Denmark – Queen Margrethe II(Queen since 1972)
Kosovo – Atifete Jahjaga(President since 2011, the first female Head of State in the Balkans and the youngest one)
Lithuania – Dalia Grybauskaitė(President since 2009 and the first Lithuanian president elected for the second term)
Malta – Marie Louise Coleiro Preca (President since 2014)
San Marino – Lorella Stefanelli(Captain Regent since 2015)
United Kingdom – Queen Elisabeth II (Queen since 1952)
Brazil – Dilma Rousseff(President since 2011 and the first female president of Brazil)
Chile – Michelle Bachelet(President from 2006 to 2010 and since 2014; the first popularly elected female president of South America)
2) Heads of Government
In 2015 9 women were heads of government, in the beginning of 2016 – only 6. The percentage lowered to 4,3% ! We are quite far from 30%, said to a be minimum to obtain a balanced gender representation.
Bangladesh – Sheikh Hasina(Prime Minister from 1996 to 2001 and since 2009)
Namibia – Saara Kuugongelwa(Prime Minister since 2015 and the first woman to hold this office in Namibia)
Germany – Angela Merkel(Chancellor since 2006 and the first woman and the first citizen of the German Democratic Republic to hold the office)
Norway – Erna Solberg (Prime Minister since 2013)
Poland – Beata Szydło (Prime Minister since 2015)
Jamaica – Portia Simpson-Miller(Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007 and since 2012)
“ Challenge to Change, is an initiative aimed at raising awareness about mental health for women from the Middle East. It is a platform for dialogue and support, enabling women to share their experiences, strengths and hope while being supported by mental health professionals. Through raising awareness and taking on the stigma, Challenge to Change has created safe communication channels and support groups with the objective of providing effective and lasting solutions.
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