5 countries where women have led government

Other countries have long elected women leaders.
Other countries have long elected women leaders.
It's official: Hillary Clinton is the first female presidential nominee on a major party ticket in U.S. history.

    The former secretary of state, New York senator and first lady celebrated June 7 before an ecstatic crowd in Brooklyn. “Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone,” she began. As the crowd cheered, Clinton added, “the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee for the president of the United States.”  
    But while a significant historical moment in U.S. politics, other countries around the world have long since elected women as leaders. Here are five examples:

United Kingdom: Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) was prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. Her mission as prime minister was to “shrink the state and repair the country's finances,” according to the BBC. Thatcher is known by the nickname “Iron Lady,” but that was actually given to her by a Russian newspaper in 1976 -- before she was prime minister -- after she gave a speech critical of the Soviet Union.

India: Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) was born into politics as the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, also a prime minister. She was elected prime minister in 1966 and served three consecutive terms. A controversial leader, Gandhi was elected a fourth term in 1980, but was assassinated in 1984. (See The New York Times' obituary.)

Ireland: A barrister by profession, Mary Robinson (1944-) was the first woman elected president of Ireland (1990-1997). She has also served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and as founding member of The Elders -- a group of global leaders working for “peace, justice and human rights worldwide,” according to the organization's website.

Israel: Golda Meir (1898-1978) was elected prime minister in 1969 and served until 1974. Born in Ukraine,  she and her family emigrated to the U.S. in 1906, and there she attended college -- Milwaukee Normal School, now the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. As prime minister of Israel, she pressed for a peace settlement in the Middle East. (See: Golda Meir, Encyclopedia Britannica.)

South Korea: Park Geun-hye (1952- ) was sworn into office in 2013. The product of a political family, her father, former President Park Chung-hee, ruled South Korea for almost two decades before being assassinated in 1979, recounts a profile on the BBC website. There had been a previous assassination attempt in 1974, during which her mother was shot and killed. After that, she learned about politics while serving as first lady.



     Why women will rock the vote

     In history: The presidential race, 1916

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