Theresa May is about to join this growing list of female world leaders


As Theresa May prepares to take the keys to Number 10, she will join an expanding list of female world leaders.

Here we have listed 18 female politicians in the highest positions of power in their countries or states around the world and May's addition to the list could also soon be followed by Hillary Clinton as she runs for US President.

Angela Merkel - Germany

Chancellor since November 22, 2005

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
(Markus Schreiber/AP/PA)

One of the most powerful women in the world, Merkel has also served as the president of the European Council, chaired the G8 and is a significant presence in the European Union. She was appointed Germany's first female Chancellor following the 2005 election and has remained in her post after two subsequent elections - the most recent in 2013 by a landslide margin.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Liberia

President since January 18, 2006

President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
(Mary Altaffer/AP)

A trailblazing presence in Africa, Johnson Sirleaf became the first elected head of state in Africa when she took over the Liberian presidency a decade ago. An alma mater of Harvard University, she was jointly awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her "non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work".

Sheikh Hasina - Bangladesh

Prime Minister since January 6, 2009

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Hasina has been in office for seven years - her second spell as Prime Minister of the country - after serving in the role from 1996 to 2001. She was the target of an assassination attempt at an anti-terrorist rally in the capital Dhaka when she was opposition leader in 2004. Hasina was injured in the attack which killed 24 and injured more than 300 people.

Dalia Grybauskaite - Lithuania

President since July 12, 2009

Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite
(Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

Lithuania's first female president has been referred to in Thatcher-esque terms as the Baltic "Iron Lady" and "Steel Magnolia". She has a black belt in karate and has spoken out strongly against Russia president Vladimir Putin, where others have not dared. The former EU commissioner boycotted the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics citing Russia's human rights record.

Dilma Rousseff - Brazil

President since January 1, 2011

Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
(Eraldo Peres/AP)

The 36th president of Brazil and the first female. Rousseff's tenure has not been without its controversies and in May her powers as president were suspended for at least six months following her impeachment trial. Rousseff is accused of breaking budget laws, highlighting a sense of political chaos in the country ahead of the Olympic Games next month.

Park Geun-hye - South Korea

President since February 25, 2013

South Korean President Park Geun-hye
(Ahn Young-joon/AP)

After becoming the first South Korean female president, and 18th overall, Park used her inauguration speech to express her desire her peace with North Korea. Last November, 80,000 anti-government protesters on streets of Seoul demanded she step down as president.

Erna Solberg - Norway

Prime minister since October 16, 2013

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg
(Virginia Mayo/AP)

Norway's second female prime minister following in the footsteps of Gro Harlem Brundtland, who served in the role from 1986-1989.

Michelle Bachelet - Chile

President since March 11, 2014

President Michelle Bachelet of Chile
(Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

Bachelet became the first female Chilean president in 2006 before winning back the leadership following elections in 2014. Her father died in a Santiago prison in 1974 after he was tortured under the General Augusto Pinochet regime. Bachelet has since revealed she was also tortured before going into exile in Australia and East Germany.

Marie Louise Coleiro Preca - Malta

President since April 4, 2014

The Queen and Malta president Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca
(Facundo Arrizabalaga/PA)

Coleiro Preca became Malta's second female president in 2014, following in the footsteps of Agatha Barbara, who led the island nation from 1982-87.

Nicola Sturgeon - Scotland

First Minister since November 20, 2014

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
(Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/AP)

Sturgeon was the first female to become First Minister of Scotland and the leader of the Scottish National Party. Forbes Magazine named Sturgeon as the 50th most powerful woman in the world in 2016 as her political profile has grown.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - Croatia

President since February 19, 2015

Croatia president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic
(Amel Emric/AP)

Grabar-Kitarovic became the youngest president of the Republic of Croatia, and first female, when she was elected aged 46. She became a central figure at the start of the European migrant crisis when a large number of migrants flowed into Croatia.

Ameenah Gurib - Mauritius

President since June 5, 2015
The 56-year-old was the first elected president of the island nation, which is situated in the Indian Ocean off Madagascar. A multi-award winning biodiversity scientist, her selection as a presidential candidate was welcomed by both Mauritius prime minister and opposition leader.

Bidya Devi Bhandari - Nepal

President since October 29, 2015

Prince Harry meets Nepal's President Bidya Devi Bhandari
(Chris Jackson/PA)

The second president of Nepal after she was elected last year and the first woman to hold the office. The presidential position was created after the country was declared a republic in 2008.

Beata Szydlo - Poland

Prime minister since November 15, 2015

Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo
(Markus Schreiber/AP)

Szydlo is Poland's third female prime minister after Hanna Suchocka and Ewa Kopacz, who preceded her. After voicing her support for a ban on abortion earlier this year, it caused protests around the country while Polish women took to social media to update the PM about their menstrual cycle, alongside the hashtag #TrudnyOkres (tough period).

Hilda Heine - Marshall Islands

President since January 28, 2016

Hilda Heine, President of Marshall Islands
(Mark Lennihan/AP)

Heine became the Marshall Islands' first female president earlier this year. She was the only candidate as she was voted into the post by the country's legislature (the Nitijela) after her predecessor Casten Nemra lasted just 17 days in the role.

Aung San Sun Kyi - Myanmar

State Counsellor of Myanmar since April 6, 2016

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
(Khin Maung Win/AP)

World renowned as a politician and diplomat, Aung Sang became one of the most famed political prisoners after she was placed under house arrest for 15 years until 2010. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is prohibited from becoming Myanmar president - due to her late husband and children holding British passports - however, she was bestowed with the newly-created State Counsellor role in April, which grants her powers of the kind a prime minister enjoys.

Taiwan - Tsai Ing-wen - Taiwan

President since May 20, 2016

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen
(Arnulfo Franco/AP)

Tsai is the first woman elected to be Taiwan's president after she won a landslide victory earlier this year. She is a strong advocate of LGBT rights and has supported same-sex marriage.

Doris Bures - Austria

Joint acting federal president since July 8, 2016

Doris Bures
(Ronald Zak/AP)

Bures joined a group of three Austrian politicians to take over as acting president last week after the country's constitutional court ruled that the result of May's presidential election would be annulled and a new vote be held in October.