Top 10 Women Leaders of the 20th and 21st Centuries

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Women have been at the helm of the affairs of their countries for many generations, but in the 20th Century the number of well known women leaders increased manifold. The 10 women listed below led their countries through times of turbulence and peace.


1. Indira Gandhi  – Prime Minister of India
Indira Gandhi

Born into India’s politically influential  Nehru family, she was India’s first woman Prime Minister. A hard nosed pragmatic, she ruled the country with firmness and determination, taking hard and tough decisions when needed. She was assassinated by two of her own guards in 1984.


2. Margaret Thatcher – Prime Minister of United Kingdom
Margaret Thatcher

Nicknamed “Iron Lady” due to her tough stance against the erstwhile Soviet Union, she led her country through recession and high unemployment into a period of relative prosperity, and a rise in its stature among fellow nations. She was the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom.


3. Benazir Bhutto  – Prime Minister of Pakistan

The daughter Pakistan’s Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, she ruled her country from 1988-1990, and 1993-1996. She was assassinated in 2007, during election campaigning. It was widely expected that she would go on to become Prime Minister for a record third term.


4. Corazon Aquino – President of Phillipines
Corazon Aquino

Asia’s first female President, she was a novice when she was elected President sometime after her husband’s assassination. She was a strong advocate of women’s rights and of democracy as opposed to Ferdinand Marcos’s dictatorial rule.


5. Sonia Gandhi  –  Leader of India’s Congress Party
Sonia Gandhi

Believed by many to be the power behind the throne, she holds no political office, yet rules the country. An Italian by birth, she adopted India as her country after marrying Rajiv Gandhi. She has been nominated as the third most powerful woman in the world.


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