The plight of females has come a very long way in the last century, in the past women were purely viewed as subservient creatures meant to care for children and the home. In modern times, female empowerment is everywhere and opportunities abundant for those that work hard. Women now hold positions of power in government all over the world making sure that their voices are heard for all of the people that they represent.
Pratibha Patil, India– Patil became the very first female Indian President serving a term from 2007-2012. She is a highly educated woman with several college degrees including a master’s degree in Political Science and Economics and a bachelor Law degree. Prior to becoming President Patil served as a member of Parliament for several constituencies.
Chandrika Kumaranatunga, Sri Lanka– Kumaranatunga is the daughter of two Prime Ministers that were both assassinated during their time in office. She followed in her parent’s political steps by becoming Sri Lanka’s first female president from 1994 to 2005. She is most noted for ending the Sri Lankan Civil War after an assassination attempt on her life in 1999.
Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan– Bhutto was the first female to serve in a government position in a Muslim county. She was the Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988-1990 and again from 1993-1996. She helped found the Council of Women World Leaders and also appointed female judges and civil servants in predominantly male positions.
Golda Meir, Israel– Meir was born in Ukraine but spent the majority of her life in Isreal where she became the first and only female Prime Minister. She held the office from 1969-1974. Her tough politics earned her the nickname “Iron Lady”. One of Meir’s proudest moments was when she was able to become one of only 24 people to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. Meir admitted after signing the document that she was reminded of the importance of the American Declaration of Independence and how those people changed history.
Roza Otunbayeva, Kyrgyzstan– Otunbayeva became the interim president of Kyrgyzstan from 2010-2011 after a violent outbreak ousted the previous leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Prior to this role, she served as a foreign ambassador to Malaysia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. After her short one-year term in office, she passed government control to the newly elected president in what would be the first nonviolent transfer of power in Kyrgyzstan.
These five strong women came from different countries and different backgrounds, but they have a lot in common. They are all positive role models to young women with political aspirations showing that tireless work does pay off in the end. As time continues to progress and women continue to gain ground in the competitive and male-dominated world of politics there will inevitably be more women in powerful government positions. These modern women are shining examples of how females can successfully lead a country even in the midst of tough circumstances.