Number of women leaders around the world has grown, but they’re still a small group

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tags: womens history, women leaders



Most Americans believe a woman will be elected president within their lifetime, a milestone that would add the U.S. to a growing list of countries that have had a female leader. But the overall number of countries that have been led by women still remains relatively small, and in most of these countries, women haven’t held power for long.

There are currently 18 female world leaders, including 12 female heads of government and 11 elected female heads of state (some leaders are both, and figurehead monarchs are not included), according to United Nations data. These women account for about one-in-ten of today’s leaders of United Nations member states. Half of them are the first women to hold their country’s highest office.

Yet, even while the number of female leaders has more than doubled since 2005, a woman in power is hardly the norm around the world. Sixty-three of 142 nations studied by the World Economic Forum have had a female head of government or state at some point in the 50 years up to 2014, but in nearly two-thirds of those nations a woman was in power for less than four of the 50 years – including 11 countries (17%) where a woman led for less than a year.




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