Greece elects its first woman president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, in the country’s history. This is what you should know about her. And also, here’s a list of female presidents from around the world.
Here’s what you need to know about her:
Apart from the fact that she is the first woman president in the history of Greece, she’s still pretty damn impressive.
This is not the first time she’s broken a glass ceiling. As a (very) senior high court judge, Katerina Sakellaropoulou was also the first woman ever to head up the Council of State. This is the top administrative court in Greece BTW.
Her background is in environmental and constitutional law. She studied in France at Paris’s Sorbonne University.
She is 63 years old.
Her politics are progressive in terms of civil rights, refugee rights, gay marriage, and environmental protections, according to Fast Company.
The majority vote that she received, News24 reports, was across party lines, with a total of 261 MPs in her favour.
What you need to know about the Greek government
So, not all governments work the same way and not all presidents have equal power within them. Here’s the deal in Greece:
Although the Greek president is the head of state, the position is ‘largely ceremonial‘. What does this mean? Greek presidents confirm laws and can declare war. But only in conjunction with the government. So she has power, but there are limits.
This is not, for example, the way it works in the USA.
List of female presidents around the world:
In the male-dominated realm of global politics, it’s always refreshing to see women represented. You might be wondering just how much progress is really being made.
Note how the list has grown from the ’60s until now. There was a serious jump in the ’90s!
1960 – 1969: Three woman presidents
Sri Lanka: Sirimavo Bandaranaike, 1960
India: Indira Gandhi, 1966
Israel: Golda Meir, 1969
(Hold on, it does start to get better, slowly, but still).
1970 – 1979: Four woman presidents
Argentina: Isabel Perón, 1974
Central African Republic: Elisabeth Domitien, 1975
Portugal: Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo, 1979
United Kingdom: Margaret Thatcher, 1979
(Okay, VERY slowly).
1980 – 1989: Six woman presidents
Dominica: Eugenia Charles, 1980
Iceland: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, 1980
Norway: Gro Harlem Brundtland, 1981
Malta: Agatha Barbara, 1982
Philippines: Corazon Aquino, 1986
Pakistan: Benazir Bhutto, 1988
(Wait for it…)
1990 – 1999: Sixteen woman presidents
Ireland: Mary Robinson, 1990
Lithuania: Kazimira Danutė Prunskienė, 1990
Nicaragua: Violeta Barrios Torres de Chamorro, 1990
Bangladesh: Khaleda Zia, 1991
France: Édith Cresson, 1991
Poland: Hanna Suchocka, 1992
Burundi: Sylvie Kinigi, 1993
Canada: Kim Campbell, 1993
Rwanda: Agathe Uwilingiyimana, 1993
Turkey: Tansu Çiller, 1993
Haiti: Claudette Werleigh, 1995
Guyana: Janet Rosenberg, 1997
New Zealand: Jenny Shipley, 1997
Latvia: Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, 1999
Panama: Mireya Elisa Moscoso Rodríguez, 1999
Switzerland: Ruth Dreifuss, 1999
2000 – 2009: Fifteen woman presidents
Finland: Tarja Halonen, 2001
Indonesia: Megawati Sukarnoputri, 2001
Senegal: Mame Madior Boye, 2001
São Tomé and Príncipe: Maria das Neves, 2002
Peru: Beatriz Merino, 2003
Macedonia: Radmila Šekerinska, 2004
Mozambique: Luísa Diogo, 2004
Germany: Angela Merkel, 2005
Ukraine: Yulia Tymoshenko, 2005
Chile: Michelle Bachelet, 2006
Jamaica: Portia Simpson-Miller, 2006
Liberia: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 2006
South Korea: Han Myung-sook, 2006
Moldova: Zinaida Greceanîi, 2008
Croatia: Jadranka Kosor, 2009
(Now we’re talking)
2010 – now: Seventeen woman presidents
Australia: Julia Gillard, 2010
Costa Rica: Laura Chinchilla, 2010
Kyrgyzstan: Roza Otunbayeva, 2010
Slovakia: Iveta Radičová, 2010
Trinidad and Tobago: Kamla Persad-Bissessar, 2010
Denmark: Helle Thorning-Schmidt, 2011
Kosovo: Atifete Jahjaga, 2011
Mali: Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé, 2011
Thailand: Yingluck Shinawatra, 2011
Malawi: Joyce Banda, 2012
Slovenia: Alenka Bratušek, 2013
Brazil: Dilma Rousseff, 2014
Mauritius: Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, 2015
Namibia: Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, 2015
Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, 2016
New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern, 2017
Ethiopia: Sahle-Work Zewde, 2018
And now, Katerina Sakellaropoulou will take her oath of office – and her place in history – in March this year. Congratulations to the first woman president in Greece, we wish her all of the best!
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