In recent times, an upsurge of women politicians has been felt across the globe. This is unlike the traditional times when women and power were considered to be totally separate and could never be together.
In both developed and developing countries, there are top women contenders for the highest office of the land. While not all manage to clinch the title, majority make an impressive impact that indicates that the general notion that women cannot lead does not exist in modern times.
The top 10 most powerful women politicians 2021 are among the number of those who have made an impressive mark in politics of their countries and managed to clinch the highest titles on their respective countries.
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10. Dalia Grybauskaite
The sitting president of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite is the number 10 holder among the most powerful women politicians. Born in 1956, she became the president of the republic in 2009. Prior to her election to the position, she held several powerful positions in previous governments including heading the ministries of finance and foreign affairs. She also held the position of the European commissioner for financial programming and the budget. Referred as the “Iron Lady”, she is a known performer who worked extra hard to gain her academic status through part time learning. She holds a PHD in economics a qualification that is better indicated by her previous positions in governments and her capability to drive the economy of her country to greater heights.
9. Tarja Halonen
The 11th president of Finland, Tarja Halonen’s journey in politics started long ago when she was still a student in the university. She held several positions in the students’ organisations body where she was always active in student politics. Graduating with a degree in law, she was a one time lawyer for the Central organisation of Finnish Trade Unions. In the year 2000, she was elected into the presidency of Finland and served until 20102 when her term expired. Making history as the first woman president in Finland, she also joins the list of top and powerful women politicians.
8. Laura Chinchilla
Laura Chinchilla is the current president of Costa Rica. Before being elected to the position, she was the vice president of the country a position she achieved after serving in several ministerial positions. Among the positions she served include the ministry of public security and the ministry of justice under the Liberation Party. She was sworn in as the president in 2010 becoming the 6th woman in the history of Latin countries to rise to presidency. Born in 1959, she is among the list of world leaders accredited with great concerns for protection and sustainability of the environment.
7. Johanna Sigurdardottir
Born in 1942, Johanna Sigurdardottir rose from humble beginnings to one of the most coveted positions in society. At one time, she was a simple flight attendant before venturing into politics in 1978. She is currently the prime minister of Iceland and accredited as among the most influential persons in the world by managing to win 8 consecutive elections. Before rising to the position, she served as the minister for social affairs and social security in Iceland’s government. She also acknowledged as one of the most authoritative heads of state across the globe. Her most unique feature is the open admission as being gay as being the first head of state to make such a submission.
6. Sheikh Hasina Wajed
The current prime minister of Bangladesh is Sheikh Hasina Wajed at 62 years. Being her second term in office, she was initially elected to the office in 1996 and later in 2009. Since 1981, he has been the president of the major political party in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Awami League. She is a strong willed woman having maintained her powerful position despite losing 17 members of her family in an assassination. On the global front, she is an active member of the Council of Women Leaders accredited for mobilizing collective action on women issues.
5. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
A renown woman scholar, Ellen Johnson is the serving president of Liberia. She was born in 1938 and attained her academic qualifications in universities of Harvard and Winscon. A respected woman within and beyond the borders of her country, Ellen was among the Nobel Prize winners in 2011. This was recognition “for a non-violent struggle for women and of women’s rights to full participation in peace building works”. It is her work and dedication in fighting for the rights of women and her commitment in regional peace that has won her recognition and placement among the most powerful women politicians from across the globe.
4. Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard id 27th and the current prime minister of Australia. Having been in office since 2010, she is one of the strongest politicians in the world. She was born in 1961 in Barry but her family migrated to Australia in 1966. Before taking the helms of power, she served the government in different ministerial positions including that of education, employment, and workplace relations. During her election, she saw the first huge parliament into office in the history of the country. Serving in a country of mixed religions which she respects, she is a real non-believer in any of them.
3. Dilma Rousseff
Taking the third position as the strongest woman politically is Dilma Rousseff. She is the serving president of Brazil who was born in 1947 in a simple middleclass family. Before being elected to the presidency, she served as the Chief of Staff being the first woman in the country’s history to hold that position in 2005. Born a socialist, Dilma was an active member who joined various left-wing guerillas in fighting the dictatorial leadership in the country. She is a career economist whose main intention is to drive the country into a journey of economic gains and prosperity. A strong believer in enabling the capacity of women, she was quoted saying “I would like parents who have daughters to look them straight in the eyes and tell them: Yes a woman can”.
2. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Born in 1953, Cristina Fernandez is the reigning Argentina’s President. She is the 55th president to hold that position in the country and the 1st woman elected to the post. To majority of women, she is considered a fashion icon through her well crafted dressing codes. On the global front, she is a known advocate fighting for human rights, eradication of poverty and improvement of health. Among other achievements, she is the most outspoken person promoting the claim to sovereignty of the Falkland Islands by Argentina.
1. Angela Merkel
Born in 1954, Angela Merkel is the first and strongest woman politician on the globe. After she graduated with a doctorate in physics, Angela decided to pursue politics winning the Bundestag seat in 1990. She rose to be the chairperson of the Christian Democratic Movement and also became the first woman to hold the position of the German Chancellor. Twice married and childless, Angela was before her appointment to the position of the chancellor a cabinet minister where she played an important role during the European financial crisis.
Despite the traditional belief that women cannot be leaders, women in the list of top 10 most powerful women politicians paint a different picture. They carry along a string of achievements as the heads of states and in their previous ministerial appointments. Given the opportunity and support, they are proof that with women leaders many countries can make meaningful progress.