Of the 13 women, six are heads of European countries, two are heads of South American countries and four are their country’s first female leaders. Europe counts the most women in power. Bangladesh leads in longevity – its prime minister Sheik Hasina has been in power for 13 years, accumulated over two terms. Marshall Islands president Hilda Heine is Ardern’s only female counterpart in the Asia-Pacific region and is relatively new to the job, having served just over a year.
“Times have changed … today men and women are equal,” Mao Zedong pronounced more than half a century ago. “Whatever men comrades can accomplish, women comrades can too.” Unless, of course, you mean running the country. For not once since Mao’s communists took power in 1949 has a woman been appointed to China’s top political body, the politburo standing committee, let alone become the country’s top leader.