H is for Her, in charge

Today is International Woman’s Day, designed 100 years ago this month as a “global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.”

A whole JEOPARDY! category of WOMEN IN CHARGE (#6081, aired 2011-02-07)
$200: From 1966 to 1977 & from 1980 to 1984, she led the world’s largest democracy
$400: Vigdis Finnbogadottir led a theatre co. for many years before becoming this country’s president in 1980
$600: In 2010, before her term as president ended, Michelle Bachelet oversaw earthquake relief efforts in this country
$800: In 2009 Vilnius-born Dalia Grybauskaite became president of this country
$1,000 (Daily Double): President of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992, she passed away in 2009
Questions at the end of the post.

Countries that have had:
(yellow)Female heads of government
(dark orange) Female heads of state (including female representatives of heads of state (Governors-General and French Representatives of Andorra), excluding monarchs)
(light orange) Female heads of state and government (including female representatives of heads of state, excluding monarchs)

How many women are currently in the United States House of Representatives? How about the US Senate? I had to look it up. It’s 73 and 17, respectively, which puts the country 71st in terms of the number of women in national parliaments.

I’m a firm believer that progress towards equality, whether it be gender-, ethnicity-, or sexual orientation-based is not truly achieved until one can no longer keep track of the achievement.

And how many US Presidents who were female have we had? Lessee – take the square root of…oh yeah, that would be zero. Not even Petunia Pig.

This is fascinating to me because other countries have had female heads of state and/or female heads of government for decades. According to Wikipedia, the first female head of state was Khertek Anchimaa-Toka of the Tuvan People’s Republic, an independent state in Russia. The first one for a place I’ve actually HEARD of was Sükhbaataryn Yanjmaa of Mongolia, back in 1953. But the first woman who was head of government, generally a more significant role in most countries that separate the functions, was Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1960. The second and third are much better known: Indira Gandhi of India and Golda Meir of Israel.

Of those currently in office, the female head of government with the longest tenure is Angela Merkel of Germany (pictured above), followed closely by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia (pictured right), who is the longest-tenured of those women serving as both heads of state and government. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina, Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica, and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil also currently hold both roles. Mary McAleese of Ireland and Tarja Halonen of Finland are the longest-tenured female heads of state; the latter, talk show host Conan O’Brien claims, looks like him.


Today is International Woman’s Day, designed 100 years ago this month as a “global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present, and future.” Here is the website, and here is a history of the event, provided by the United Nations.

From the Census: In the US, National Women’s History Month dates back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. But it wasn’t until 1981 that Congress established National Women’s History Week to be commemorated the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women’s History Month, and the President has issued a proclamation.

JEOPARDY! questions-
Who was Indira Gandhi?
What is Iceland?
What is Chile?
What is Lithuania?
Who was Corazon Aquino?

ABC Wednesday – Round 8

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

53 thoughts on “H is for Her, in charge”

  1. 🙂 Only your creative mind to think about this theme, it’s really cool!
    Congratulations!
    Hey…and don’t forget the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ( I’m from Brazil!)
    IG- Prime Ministre of India
    Iceland – an island , but it’s cold there, so…I think I would prefer visit Caribbean! hehehe I don’t know about Politicians there. Sorry!
    Chile? Ahhh come on! our neighbor (in Brazil)!
    Lithuania – I wish I can visit there someday,but I’m not sure if I could visit Dalia Gry…well it’s difficult to write! LOL I have some friends at my French school here from Lithuania.They are nice!
    C Aquino – wonderful woman, she faced adversity with love and courage!

    Have fun!
    Léia

  2. This is not only a terrific photo, but it’s a great nod to International Women’s Day. Thank you!

  3. Terrific as always, Roger! And I always learn something new, too. Thank you for this post, for the H for Her Day! I love to find out there are men in the world who really do think “WOMEN” are great! Have a wonderful week!

    Sylvia

  4. Great post Roger and an honor to be a woman and you celebrate this day. You do so much research and work into your posts. I appreciate your efforts.

  5. Leia has answered all the questions for us correctly and saved us from a quandary!! 🙂
    Roger I was aware it was the International Womans day today but did not know it was also the centenary year!! Thanks for that!!

  6. Canada should be dark orange, Roger. We have had a female Governor-General more than once. We once had a female Prime Minister for a week before another election was called.
    Otherwise, a most interesting and informative post. (I would only have won the first Jeopardy round. Tsk.)
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  7. Kay- I’m guessing that the map represents the Queen (who, by its definition, doesn’t count) as head of state, rather than the Governor-General.

  8. How about that? I’d never Heard of this International Woman’s Day Holiday (until I spotted the Google page this morning). Thanks for the interesting post. You’d done your Homework! 🙂

  9. Very slowly the numbers have increased, onwards and upwards. Now, If I ruled the world….

  10. How cool is this? A whole category about women in charge! I tried some of the questions and I got 3 of them. (patting self on back) Women really are coming to the forefront of politics these days. Our new Premier is a woman and we’ve had one Prime Minister (albeit for only about a week, mind you) and several Governor Generals (representative of the Queen). Great post as usual, Roger!

    Leslie
    ABCW Team

  11. You are right Roger! There are still not many women at the top. We have a Queen, who has no real power, although she is quite a strong personality. But our PM is male, and is has always been a man who rules the government. What is it with women that they don’t apply for a leading job.

  12. I’m female, and impressed with such a delightful tribute to women of History.

    You certainly teach us much.

  13. I have to go and find out Who is Corozan Aquino, thank you for stirring my quest….. Women do a fine job when they are in charge, but then so do men. Unfortunately there are duds amongst both genders but on the whole I would say woman are less likely to be corrupted by power.

  14. What a great way to remind us that women can lead a country too. And there are a lot of women who are good leaders. Well, just to lead a family is a great and noble job already. Happy Wednesday!
    ABC Wednesday-H

  15. Truer words and observations were never spoken! I agree. We should be a lot further ahead than we are. Sadly, more people in this country can name the judges on American Idol but not the judges on our Supreme Court.
    Sadly, most women do not vote. That, I find to be the greatest travesty.
    But, it is good to keep pointing these things out to whoever will listen as, over time, it just might make a difference and I am willing to take that ‘risk’!
    And now I wonder…what did I inspire you for your H posting for Round 9? I guess I will have to wait.

  16. Thanks, Roger, for an enlightening post. I did not realize until yesterday a.m. that it was International Woman’s Day (but then I’m not good with dates anymore). What got me though was that it is the 100th anniversary and not much was Whoop-de-doo’d about it. So, I’m very glad to see that you have. 🙂

  17. Roger, thanks for a great post and for remembering to celebrate International Women’s Day with us on the centennial. You are right: here’s to the day when we no longer have to keep counts for determining how far we have come toward equality.
    As I looked at the Whipped Cream cover and the young women hanging out (not playing) with the band, I cringed. Still love the music on that album, including Lemon Tree, and wish I could still dance with such abandon!

  18. You’re so right when you say that we shall have attained equality only when we ‘can no longer keep track of the achievement.’
    Happy birthday for yesterday, Roger! Hope it was a good one:-)

  19. Great post, Roger! I enjoyed reading it.

    Canada’s head of state is Queen Elizabeth and her representative is our governor general. Most of our governor generals HAVE been men but we have had three females: Jean Sauve (84-90), Adrienne Clarkson (99-05) and Michaelle Jean (05- 10)

    However, women are very badly represented in the rest of our government. So YES we still have a long, long way to go.

  20. I only got one right…but I learned a lot!
    Thanks!
    And belated birthday wishes…hope it was great!

  21. You have not only the most interesting and informative posts but you find a very creative way of bringing it into the challenge. Wonderful!
    RYC: our English roots are showing in these parts with the names of our towns.

  22. oh and I’ve been by that hotel in Saratoga Springs! Growing up in the area Saratoga was the place to hang out in the summers during racing season. Some very nice restaurants too!

  23. No need to answer your questions! 😉
    “I’m a firm believer that progress in equality, whether it be gender-, ethnicity-, or sexual orientation-based is not truly achieved until one can no longer keep track of the achievement.” Love this quote!

    Brilliant post as usual, Roger.

    Kisses from Nydia.

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