Notable female leaders
Notable female government leaders through the years, from around the globe.
b. 1920 d. 1998
Bella Abzug helped found the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971. She was the first Jewish woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
U.S. House of Representatives (NY-19, NY-20) — 1971-1977
Photo: AP, 1975
Madeleine Albright was the first female U.S. Secretary of State.
U.S. Secretary of State -- 1997-2001
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations -- 1993-1997
Photo: AP, 1996
b. 1933 d. 2009
Corazon Aquino was the first female president of the Philippines.
President of the Philippines -- 1986-1992
Photo: AP, 1996
b. 1953 d. 2007
Benazir Bhutto was Pakistan's first female prime minister. She was assassinated in 2007 in a gun and suicide bomb attack.
Prime minister of Pakistan -- 1988-1990, 1993-1996
Photo: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images, 2007
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton is the third female U.S. Secretary of State. She ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
U.S. Secretary of State -- 2009-present
U.S. Senator (NY) -- 2001-2009
Photo: AP, 2011
Elizabeth Dole was the first female senator representing North Carolina.
U.S. Senator (N.C) -- 2003-2009
U.S. Secretary of Labor -- 1989-1990
U.S. Secretary of Transportation -- 1983-1987
Photo: AP, 1984 (pictured with her husband, Bob Dole)
b. 1935 d. 2011
Ferraro was the first female candidate for U.S. vice president, running on the ticket with Walter Mondale.
U.S. House of Representatives (NY-9) -- 1979-1985
Candidate for U.S. Vice President -- 1984
Photo: AP, 1984
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is Argentina's first elected female president.
President of Argentina -- 2007-present
Senator for Buenos Aires -- 2005-2007
Senator for Santa Cruz -- 1995-1997, 2001-2005
Photo: DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images, 2011
b. 1917 d. 1984
Indira Gandhi was the first female prime minister of India. She was assassinated in 1984.
Prime minister of India -- 1966-1977, 1980-1984
Photo: STF/AFP/Getty Images, 1976
Julia Gillard is the first female prime minister of Australia.
Prime minister of Australia -- 2010-present
Deputy prime minister of Australia -- 2007-2010
Photo: TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images, 2011
Kirsten Gillibrand is a U.S. Senator from New York.
U.S. Senator (NY) -- 2009-present
U.S. House of Representatives (NY-20) -- 2007-2009
Photo: Howard Schnapp, 2010
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second female justice and first Jewish justice on the Supreme Court.
U.S. Supreme Court associate justice -- 1993-present
Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images, 2009
Ella T. Grasso
b. 1919 d. 1981
Ella Grasso was the first female governor of Connecticut, and the first elected female governor in the U.S. Female governors who served before her were the wives or widows of male governors.
Governor of Connecticut -- 1975-1980
U.S. House of Representatives (CT-6) -- 1971-1975
Connecticut Secretary of the State -- 1959-1971
Connecticut House of Representatives -- 1952-1957
Photo: Newsday, 1979
b. 1936 d. 1996
Barbara Jordan was the first female elected to the Texas Senate and the first African-American woman to represent the South in the U.S. Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives -- 1972-1978
Texas State Senator -- 1966-1972
Photo: AP, 1967
Elena Kagan was the first female dean of Harvard Law School and the fourth female to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. Supreme Court associate justice -- 2010-present
U.S. Solicitor General -- 2009-2010
Dean of Harvard Law School -- 2003-2009
Photo: Getty Images, 2010
Mary McAleese was the second female president of Ireland.
President of Ireland -- 1997-2011
Photo: Getty Images, 2006
Carolyn McCarthy represents parts of Nassau County in the U.S. House of Representatives. She's an advocate for gun control.
U.S. House of Representatives (NY-4) -- 1997-present
Photo: Eli Meir Kaplan, 2011
b. 1898 d. 1978
Golda Meir was the first female prime minister of Israel.
Prime minister of Israel -- 1969-1974
Photo: AP, 1970
Angela Merkel is the first female chancellor of Germany.
Chancellor of Germany -- 2005-present
Photo: Getty Images, 2011
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor was the first female member of the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. Supreme Court associate justice -- 1981-2006
Photo: AP, 2001
Sarah Palin was the first female and the youngest person to be elected Governor of Alaska. She was the second woman to run for U.S. Vice President.
Candidate for U.S. Vice President -- 2008
Governor of Alaska -- 2006-2009
Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska -- 1996-2002
Photo: Getty Images, 2010
Nancy Pelosi was the first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives -- 2011-present
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives -- 2007-2011
Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives -- 2003-2007
Minority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives -- 2002-2003
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives -- 1987-present
Photo: AP, 2012
Christine Quinn is the first female and first openly gay Speaker of the New York City Council.
Speaker of the New York City Council -- 2006-present
Member of the New York City Council -- 1998-present
Photo: AP, 2011
b. 1880 d.1973
Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. To date, she is the only Congresswoman elected from Montana. She was the only member of Congress to vote against the entry of the U.S. into World War I and World War II.
U.S. House of Representatives (MT-1) -- 1941-1943
U.S. House of Representatives (MT-2) -- 1917-1919
Photo: Newsday file
Janet Reno was the first female U.S. Attorney General.
U.S. Attorney General -- 1993-2001
Photo: AP, 2002
Condoleezza Rice was the first female African-American to serve as U.S. Secretary of State.
U.S. Secretary of State -- 2005-2009
U.S. National Security Advisor -- 2001-2005
Photo: Getty Images, 2009
b. 1933 d. 2006
Ann Richards was the second female governor of Texas.
Governor of Texas -- 1991-1995
Photo: AP, 1998
Mary Robinson was the first female president of Ireland. She's the first female chancellor for the University of Dublin.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights -- 1997-2002
President of Ireland -- 1990-1997
Senator -- 1969-1989
Photo: AP, 1997
Dilma Rousseff is the first female president of Brazil. She was also the first female chief of staff of Brazil.
President of Brazil -- 2011-present
Chief of staff of Brazil -- 2005-2010
Photo: YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images, 2011
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the first female president of Liberia and currently the only elected female head of state in Africa. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
President of Liberia -- 2011-present
Photo: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images, 2011
Sonia Sotomayor is the third female and first Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court justice.
U.S. Supreme Court associate justice -- 2009-present
Photo: AP, 2009
Margaret Thatcher was the UK's first female prime minister.
Prime minister of the United Kingdom -- 1979-1990
Photo: AP, 1990
Christine Todd Whitman
Christine Todd Whitman was the first female governor of New Jersey.
Governor of New Jersey -- 1994-2001
Photo: AP, 1999