Women holding power worldwide

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Markus Schreiber, AP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Markus Schreiber, AP)

London - The UK will have its second woman prime minister after Premier David Cameron said Interior Minister Theresa May would succeed him on Wednesday.

May, who will be responsible for negotiating Britain's hugely sensitive divorce from the European Union, will have several female peers at the top of global politics once she takes office.

Heads of government

GERMANY: Angela Merkel became Germany's first woman chancellor when she was elected in 2005 and has led Europe's biggest economy ever since, gaining a third four-year term in December 2013.

BANGLADESH: Sheikh Hasina became prime minister in January 2009. She previously held the post between 1996 and 2001.

NORWAY: Erna Solberg was elected at legislative elections in September 2013, becoming the country's second female prime minister.

NAMIBIA: Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was named prime minister in March 2015 by president Hage Geingob, becoming the country's first woman head of government.

POLAND: Beata Szydlo of the conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) was named prime minister in November, 2015, succeeding another woman, Ewa Kopacz.

MYANMAR: The Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi became state counsellor, the de facto prime minister, after November 2015 elections.

Elected heads of state

LIBERIA: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first African woman president after her election in November 2005 and won a second term in 2012.

CHILE: Michelle Bachelet, elected in January 2006, handed over power to a man, Sebastian Pinera at the end of her mandate in 2010, then won a second term in December 2013.

LITHUANIA: Former European Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite was elected president in May, 2009.

SOUTH KOREA: Park Geun-Hye was elected in December 2012 becoming the first woman to lead Asia's fourth biggest economy.

MALTA: Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca became president in April, 2014, on the proposal of the prime minister, becoming the Mediterranean island's second woman president.

CROATIA: Former foreign minister Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic took Croatia's top job in 2015, becoming the first woman to be elected president by universal suffrage in the Balkans.

MAURITIUS: Ameenah Gurib-Fakim was elected to the presidency by parliament in June 2015, the first woman to hold the largely ceremonial role.

NEPAL: Communist Bidhya Devi Bhandari, was elected president by parliament in 2015, becoming the first woman to take over the largely symbolic role.

MARSHALL ISLANDS: Hilda Heine took over in January, 2016 as the Western Pacific republic's leader.

TAIWAN: Academic Tsai Ing-wen, became the Taiwan's first woman president in January 2016 after elections.

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