Worldwide Leaders – Female Heads of State

February 15, 2009

Including leaders of Self-governing External Territories

1952- H.M. Elizabeth II of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Her other Realms and TerritoriesQueen, Defender of the Faith, Head of the Commonwealth 

Until 1953 her title was Queen of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Overseas Dominions. She is head if state in 15 countries apart from Great Britain and as Head of the Commonwealth she is the front person of the organization of many other former British colonies and territories. She is the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York. Although when born it was unlikely that she would become Queen, events in the 1930s led to her father’s Accession and her becoming heir to the Throne. Her reign takes place during a period of great social change, she has carried out her political duties as Head of State, the ceremonial responsibilities of the Sovereign and an unprecedented programme of visits in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth and overseas. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is the mother of three sons and a daughter. Married to Phillip Mountbatten, former Prince of Greece. (b. 1926-).  

1972- H.M. Margrethe II, by the Grace of God, Denmark’s Queen 

Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces and Head of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church. The Rigsfælleskab – or
Commonwealth of the Realm – includes the external territories of The Faero Islands and Greenland. She has engaged in translation work and made her mark artistically in several genres. She has made a point of knowing and reaching out to all parts of the realm, and the Faeroe Islands and Greenland are favourite destinations. The Queen has also succeeded in giving her traditional New Year Message a strongly personal touch, which has helped to consolidate her popularity.
She succeeded her father, Frederik 9, and married to Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, Prince Henrik. Margrethe Alexandrine þorhildur Ingrid is mother of two sons. (b. 1940-)


1980- H.M. Beatrix, By the Grace of God, Queen of the Netherlands 

Queen Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard is also Princess van Oranje-Nassau, Princess van Lippe-Biesterfeld etc, etc, etc. The Kingdom of The Netherlands includes the external territories of Aruba and The Nederlandse Antillen. She succeeded upon the abdication of her mother, Queen Juliana, and she closely follows affairs of government and maintains regular contact with ministers, state secretaries, the vice-President of the Council of State, the Queen’s Commissioners in the provinces, burgomasters, and Dutch ambassadors etc. She meets the Prime Minister every Monday. Much of her work consists of studying and signing State documents. She regularly receives members of parliament, as well as other authorities on social issues. Married to Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Jonkheer von Amfeld (1926-2002), and mother of 3 sons. (b. 1938-).

1997- President Mary McAleese, Ireland 

She was Professor of Law and 1993-97 Pro-chancellor of University of Belfast. The eldest of nine children, she grew up in Northern Ireland and her family was one of many adversely affected by the conflict. She is an experienced broadcaster, having worked as a current affairs journalist and presenter in radio and television with Radio Telefís Éireann. She has a longstanding interest in many issues concerned with justice, equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation but never engaged in party politics. During the 1997-elections 5 candidates were female and there was only one token male candidates finishing a distant last. (b. 1951-).

1997- Governor-General Hon. Dr. Dame C. Pearlette Louisy, St. Lucia

A former civil servant, she a non-political appointee. (b. 1946-)

2000- President Tarja Halonen, Finland 

Social Democrat member of Parliament 1979-2000, 1984-87 Chairperson of the Social Affairs Committee and Member of the Presidium of the Parliament, 1987-1990 Second Minister of Health and Social Affairs (Health Minister) and 1989-1991 Minister of Nordic Co-operation, 1989-91 Co-leader of Soumen Sosialidemokraattinen Pulolue, The Social Democrats. 1990-1991 Minister of Justice, 1995-2000 Minister of Foreign Affairs. (b. 1943-).

2001- Executive President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, The Philippines (20.1-)

As executive GMA is also Head of the Cabinet. 1987-1989 she was Assistant Secretary and 1989-92 Undersecretary of Trade and Industry and Senator 1992-98. Vice-President 1998-2001 and Secretary of Social Development and Welfare 1998-2000 and charged with the leadership of the Cabinet Meetings. In 2001 the parliament sacked President Estrada because of corruption and she was sworn in as his successor. 2002 Secretary of Foreign Affairs, 2003 and 206-07 of Defence. Does not belong to a party but has formed her own block of parliamentarians. (b. 1947-).

2004- Prime Minister Luísa Días Diogo, Moçambique

Head of Department in the Ministry of Finance 1986-89, National Budget Director 1982-89 in Ministry of Planning and Finance, worked in World Bank 1993-94. Worked in World Bank 1993-94. 1994-2000 Vice-Minister and since 2000 Minister of Planning and Finance 2000-05. Mother of three children. She represents the Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO). (b. 1958-).

2004- President of the General Council Nassimah Magnolia Dindar, Réunion (French Oversea’s Territory)

Vice-President of the Regional Council 2001-04 (b. 1960-).

Michaelle Jean

2005- Governor-General Michaëlle Jean, Canada

She is daughter of Haitian immigrants who fled the Duvalier regime in 1968, former university literature professor, social activist and veteran CBC broadcaster from Quebec, and non-political. Married to French-born Jean-Daniel Lafond, and mother of Marie-Eden (b. 1999). She is (b. 1957-).

2005- Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany

1990 Deputy Spokesperson of the Government of the DDR, 1990-98 Deputy Chairperson of CDU, 1991-94 Federal Minister Women and Youth and 1994-98 Federal Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Reactor Safety, 1993-2000 Chairperson of CDU in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 1998-2000 Federal Secretary General and since 2000 Federal Chairperson of CDU and 2002-05 also Parliamentary Leader. Bundeskanzlerin in a Grand Coalition between CDU/CSU and SPD. Née Kasner and married secondly to Joachim Sauer, no children. (b. 1954-).

2006- Executive President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia

1972-73 and 1977-79 Secretary of State of Finance, 1979-80 Minister of Finance, 1980 President of the National Bank, 1980-85 worked for the World Bank, 1985-86 in house arrest after her return, 1990-92 Leading member of exile-government of Amos Sawyer in United States of America, 1992-97 African Director of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program). From 1997 Leader of the Unity Party. Presidential Candidate in 1997, Candidate for the Chairmanship of the National Transitional Government in 2003 and finally won the presidential elections in November 2005. She is divorced, mother of a number of children, and grandmother. (b. 1938-).

2006- Executive President Michelle Bachelet Jeria, Chile

2000-02 Minister of Health and 2002-04 Minister of Defence. Her father, a general, was killed by the Pinochet dictatorship. Her boyfriend was also detained, tortured and disappeared. She and her mother were also detained and tortured and afterwards lived in exile in Australia and East Germany. She returned to Chile in 1979 and worked for various NGOs helping children of the tortured and disappeared. She had two children with her first husband and a daughter with her former partner. (b. 1952-).

2006- Minister-President Emily de Jongh-Elhage, Nederlandse Antillen (Self-governing Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Commissioner of Public works and Public Housing of Curaçao 1998-99, Commissioner of Education, Sport and Cultural Affairs 1999-2002, Minister of Education and Culture of the Nederlandse Antillen 2002-03 and Commissioner of Public Enterprises and Public Housing 2004-05 of Curaçao. From 2005 Leader of De Partido Antia Restrukturá (PAR). Also Minister of General Affairs and External Relations.

2007- President Pratibha Patil, India
Deputy Minister 1967-72 and Cabinet Minister 1972-83 and Congress Leader and Leader of the Opposition 1979-80 inMaharastra, Deputy Chairperson of the Union Upper House, the Rajya Sabha 1986-88, Governor of Rajasthan 2004-07. Married to Devisingh Shekhawat, a former Mayor of Amravati. (b. 1934-).


2007- Executive President Cristina E. Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina

Won the first round of the presidential elections in October 2007 as candidate for Partido Justicalista. She was Member of the Assembly of Santa Cruz 1989-95 and 1. Vice-President of the Assembly in 1990, National Senator 1995-97 and again since 2001, National Deputy 1997-2001. President of the Senate Committee of Contitutional Affairs since 2001. Her husband, NestorKirchner was President until 2007.. Mother of 2 children. (b. 1953-).


2007- Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack, Antigua and Barbuda

A former nurse and magistrate from 1995. (b. 1944-).

Borjana Kristo 2007- President Borjana Kristo, The Federation of Bosnia (Bosnia-Hercegovina)
2003-07 Minister of Justice of the Bosniak-Croat Federation an entity in The Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The former Vice-President of the Parliament, Spomenka Micic, was elected one of the 2 Vice-Presidents of Federation. (b.  1961-)


2007- Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, Ukraine

Her name is also transcribed as Yulia Voldyrovna Timoshenkno. She is former Co-Leader of the Hromda party, Director of United Energy System 1998-2000, In January 2001 dismissed from the government, detained charged with corruption but later acquitted. Leader of Batkivsjtjina (Fatherland’s Party) 2000/01-05 and of the Bloc Tymoshenko from 2005. She was Chief of Government in 2005 and Designate Prime Minister in 2006. (b. 1961-).

2007- Premier Viveca Eriksson, Åland (Finish External Territory)

 Chairperson of the Liberal Parliamentary Group 1999-2001, Member of the Speaker’s Conference 1999-2000, Chairperson of the Finance Committee 1999-2001, first Vice-speaker 2000-01 and 2005-07, Speaker 2001-05 and Party Chairperson from 2004. (b. 1956-).

2008- Capitan Regent Assunta Meloni, San Marino

Member of the Consiglio Grande e Generale for Alleanza Popolare from 2006. Married to Fabrizio Stacchini and mother of 2 sons. (b. 1951-).


2008- Governor-General Dr Quentin Bryce, Australia
Former lawyer, academic and human rights advocate, Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, founding chair and Chief Executive Officer of the National Childcare Accreditation Council and Governor of Queensland 2003-08. (b. 1942-)

2008-  Prime Minister Zinaida Grecianîi, Moldova

Vice-Minister 2000-01 and First Vice-Minister of Finance 2001-02, Minister of Finance 2002-05 and 1. Vice Prime Minister and Coordinator of the activity of executive institution in charge with economic-financial sector from 2005. Prime Minister from 2008. (b. 1956-).


Michèle D. Pierre-Louis 2008- Prime Minister Michèle Pierre-Louis, Haiti
The third nominee by president Preval since March, has been Executive Director of the Foundation of Knowledge and Liberty since 1995. (b. 1947-).

2008- Antonella Mularoni, San Marino

As Secretary of Foreign and Political Affairs she also functions as Leader of the Government even though the Captain Generals are both Heads of State and Government. She was Political Secretary to the Minister of Finance 1986-87, Director of the Office for relations with the associations of San Marino citizens living abroad 1987-90, Deputy Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, 1989-90, Barrister and public notary in the Republic of San Marino 1991-2001, Member of the General Grand Council 1993-2001 and again from 2008, and Judge of the European Court of Human Rights 2001-08. (b. 1961-).


2009- Prime Minister  Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Bangladesh

President of the Awami Leauge from 1981, Opposition Leader 1986-87 and 1991-96 and 2001-06 and Prime Minister 1996-2001. Also in charge of a number of other portfolio’s including that of Defence during both of her tenures as chief of Government. (b. 1947-).

2009- Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Iceland
Johanna Sigurdardsottir was Deputy Chairperson of the Social Democrats 1984-93, Chairperson 1994-99 of the National Revival Party until she rejoined the Social Democrats, Vice-President of the Lower Chamber 1979 and 1983-84 and Vice-Chairperson of the the Alþing 2003-07, Minister of Social Affairs And Health 1987-91 and 
Minister of Social Affairs 1991-94 and 2007-09. 
First married to 
Þorvaldur Steinar Jóhannesson with whom she has got 2 sons and since 2002 she lives in a civil partnership with the author Jónína Leósdóttir, who is mother of 1 son. (b. 1942-).