2016, women and political leadership – female heads of state and heads of government

For 2017 data click here.

Following the last year post about the state of female leadership in highest political offices in the world, here you can find a freshly updated list of women who are heads of state or heads of government.

In comparison with 2015, the total number has not changed. There are still only 22 female leaders, representing solely 6,9% of all political leaders in the world (315 heads of state and heads of government). In details, the number of female heads of state increased, while that of heads of government dropped.


  1. Heads of State

There are 15 women holding the office of Head of State. This represent 8,4% of the total number of Heads of State in the world.

Almost the half of the female heads of state hold the office in European countries (7) and 3 – in Africa.

catherine-samba-panza--644x362 Central African Republic – Catherine Samba-Panza (President interim since 2014)
 Ameenah Gurib Mauritius – Ameenah Gurib (President since 2015 and the first popularly elected female head of state in this country)
 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Liberia – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President since 2006 and the world’s first elected black female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state)

Read here one of the most powerful political speeches she gave

 Bidhya Devi Bhandari Nepal – Bidhya Devi Bhandari (President since 2015)
 Park Guen-Hye South Korea – Park Geun-hye (President since 2013 and the first female Head of State in Northeastern Asia)

Read more about her here

 Hilda Heine Marshall Islands – Hilda Heine (President since 2016 and the first woman to hold the office in this country)
 Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović Croatia – Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (President since 2015)
 Queen Margarethe II Denmark – Queen Margrethe II (Queen since 11972)
 Atifete Jahjaga Kosovo – Atifete Jahjaga (President since 2011, the first female Head of State in the Balkans and the youngest one)
 Dalia Grybauskaitė Lithuania – Dalia Grybauskaitė (President since 2009 and the first Lithuanian president elected for the second term)
 Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca Malta – Marie Louise Coleiro Preca (President since 2014)
 Lorella Stefanelli San Marino – Lorella Stefanelli (Captain Regent since 2015)
 Queen Elizabeth II United Kingdom – Queen Elisabeth II (Queen since 1952)
South America
 Dilma Rousseff Brazil – Dilma Rousseff (President since 2011 and the first female president of Brazil)
 Michelle Bachelet Chile – Michelle Bachelet (President from 2006 to 2010 and since 2014; the first popularly elected female president of South America)


2. Heads of Government

In 2015 9 women were heads of government, in the beginning of 2016 – only 6. The percentage lowered to 4,3% ! We are quite far from  30%, said to a be minimum to obtain a balanced gender representation.

 Saara Kuugongelwa Namibia – Saara Kuugongelwa (Prime Minister since 2015 and the first woman to hold this office in Namibia)
 Sheikh Hasina Wajed Bangladesh – Sheikh Hasina (Prime Minister from 1996 to 2001 and since 2009)
 Angela Merkel Germany – Angela Merkel (Chancellor since 2006 and the first woman and the first citizen of the German Democratic Republic to hold the office)
 BELGIUM-EU-NORWAY-PM-SOLBERG-VISIT Norway – Erna Solberg (Prime Minister since 2013)
 Beata szydlo Poland – Beata Szydło (Prime Minister since 2015)
North America
 Portia Simpson Miller Jamaica – Portia Simpson-Miller (Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007 and since 2012)

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