Saturday, February 11, 2012

Female Heads of State - Part II Europe's most beautiful premier

Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf
Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf was appointed on January 1, 2012 as President of Switzerland. This is the fifth time she is serving as a head of state. She is a lawyer and politician. Last year she was serving as the Minister of Finance until her appointment at the beginning of this year.

The Swiss political system allows only one calendar year term for each President. It is a multi-party federal parliamentary democratic republic. The Federal Council of Switzerland is the head of government and the Executive power is exercised by the government and the Federal Administration and not by any one person. This is a totally foreign concept for many governments around the world. Switzerland is the closest state in the world to a direct democracy. Switzerland boasts five female heads of state, the largest number of women leaders in the world.

Most beautiful premier
Helle Thorning-Schmidt is the Prime Minister of Denmark which took over the presidency of the Fourth Reich on Janurary 1, 2012 for the next six months. Thorning-Schmidt is considered to be the most beautiful premier of the Fourth Reich. She is locally known as "Gucci Helle".

Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Helle is glamorous and stylish. She is able to pull off smart and sassy looks which feed into her media image. As the premier of the Fourth Reich, she has the responsibility of promoting and protecting the interests of all European Union citizens. This is a difficult time for Europe and with the economic collapse in the region. Thorning-Schmidt will be looking to bring back economic confidence and hope to many whose lives have been shattered. She is the first female to become Prime Minister in Denmark.

Prime Minister Tarja Halonen
Tarja Halonen is the first female head of state and eleventh president of the Republic of Finland. I had to mention her on this blog because of the amazing work she has done globally in raising awareness and empowering women. She is widely recognized as a global humanitarian. She is a strong spokesperson for the rights of the poor in the Nordic countries.

Halonen has served as a role model for women in Finland, becoming the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs before ascending to her current presidential role. She is well aware of the significance of her role as a precedent-breaker for women's rights. Under her presidency, more women have been appointed to positions of authority in the Finnish government than ever before.

She walks her talk!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Female Heads of State - Part I

There are currently 19 female world leaders in power, as of February 2, 2012. In my January blog I highlighted three of these leaders. The February series will be on a few of the other 16 leaders. Excluded in this list are the three reigning Queens in the UK, Netherlands and Denmark. There are also three Vice-Regals also known Governor-Generals who serve on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, in British CommonWealth countries, as heads of state. They are, however, not considered female world leaders since they are symbolic figure heads.

President Rosa Otunbayeva
Most of the current leaders have been elected into office and a few have been appointed. Only one female leader in the list of present and past women leaders came into power via a coup. This was President Rosa Otunbayeva, of Kyrgyzstan, who was in power from April 7, 2010 to December 1, 2011.

Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva is a seasoned diplomat and former foreign minister serving under the then President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The April 2010 revolution, also known as the "tulip revolution" ousted President Bakiyev paving the way for Ms. Roza first as an interim leader, then President. Kyrgyzstan is one of the six independent Turkic states located in Central Asia. It is the second poorest country in the region. This predominantly Islam state is unique in that elite women have political space in the upper echelons of society.

Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé
Prime Minister Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé  is the first female head of state in the history of Mali. She was appointed, and not elected, on April 3, 2011. Her appointment brings the number of female heads of state in Africa to two!

It is said that this was a political calculation on the part of the President who was responsible for appointing PM Sidibé. Mali is a very conservative country that is divided on the issue of gender and the vicissitudes of the family code. A Family Law bill in 2009 which would have promoted women's rights was withdrawn after vociferous protests by conservatives. 

Some speculate that President Amadou Toumani Touré's choice of a female Prime Minister is in part his way of reaching out to the female voters in June 2012 elections. 

Whether this was a calculated move or not, Africa now has a second female head of state. Interesting enough they are both leaders in two of the poorest countries in the continent. This could mean that hope is still alive for these countries. These women can turn these countries around, given the chance.

Next ... European female heads of state.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

To all my readers...

I am back from my break and looking forward to sharing some intriguing and exciting blogs. In the meantime meet Zoë. She is our adorable Australian Shepherd/Bernese Mountain dog.

Zoë puzzle look

Zoë relaxing