As Canada faces the real possibility of having five female premiers, other parts of the world have long had many strong women leaders.
In fact, Latin America has had more women leaders than Western democracies.
One of the first women to come to power worldwide was the unforgettable Argentinian Isabel Perón in 1974. She succeeded her husband, Juan Domingo Peron. During her tumultuous term of office, there were many politically motivated murders. A military coup overthrew her.
Next, Lidia Gueiler Tejada took power in Bolivia in 1979 followed by the remarkable Violeta Chamorro in Nicaragua, who took office in 1990. She focused on promoting peace and stability in a country shaken by the Sandinistas.
Mireya Moscoso Rodriguez assumed the Panamanian leadership from 1999 to 2004. Moscoso managed the return of the Panama Canal to from the U.S. to Panama.
Michelle Bachelet of Chile held the top job in Chile from 2006 to 2010. Previously, she was the Minister of Defense, a position that had never been occupied by a woman. Bachelet currently works for the United Nations in support of women.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is currently the president of Argentina. Kirchner is the wife of the deceased ex-Argentinian President, Nestor Kirchner.
Before becoming president, Kirchner was the Senator for Santa Cruz Province as well as Buenos Aires. According to Forbes Magazine, Kirchner is considered one of the most powerful women worldwide.
In Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla surprised many in 2010 by becoming the first female president since women got the right to vote in 1949,
As for Brazil, Dilma Rousseff took office in 2011 succeeding Lula Da Silva, who was Rousseff’s mentor. Before assuming the presidency, she worked as a minister of Natural Resources. Rousseff was nicknamed as the new “Iron Woman” of Latin America.
In Canada, leadership has not been very friendly to women. We have had only one female Prime Minister for just four months in 1993. Kim Campbell was never elected and assumed the Prime Minister’s job after Brian Mulroney stepped down.
She lost office in a general election that wiped out her Progressive Conservative Party across the country.
The United States has never had a female president.
In Europe, two strong women stand out in the top political job. Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s “Iron Lady” ruled from 1979 to 1990.
Her political policies were so conservative that experts began to call them Thatcherism. Privatizing the companies owned by the state was her most outstanding policy, which split the country and spawned riots in England.
Today, one of the most powerful women in Europe is the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. Some experts call her the “leader of the European Union”. In 2007, Merkel was the President of the European Council.
Now, she is carrying out an important role in managing the economic crisis shaking Europe. Indeed, Merkel is the guide for the most affected countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal. According to Forbes Magazine, Merkel is the world’s second most powerful woman.