In the half century since Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Ceylon became the world’s first woman prime minister, more than 60 women have assumed the position of prime minister or president. Although this represents slightly more than one woman per year, the trend has shown some acceleration. In the period, 1960-1975, only 5 women held the position of prime minister or president, while in the period, 1976–1991, 17 women rose to the top political position, and between 1992 and the end of 2007, the corresponding number totaled 42. By examining the experiences of the 64 women who have been able to break the highest political glass ceiling as of the end of 2007, an attempt has been made to shed light on why relatively few women have been able to reach the top as well as to identify trends that might suggest greater representation of women in the future.
KeywordsPrime Minister Party Leader National Parliament Woman Leader Latin American State
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