The Legacy of Women Political Leaders in Europe

By: GWL Team | Saturday, 11 March 2023

In recent years, the number of women leaders in Europe's political arena has increased. These female leaders have broken down barriers and questioned traditional gender roles, bringing new perspectives and approaches to the political arena. In this article, we will introduce you to eight of Europe's top female political leaders who have made significant contributions to their respective countries and beyond. From Kersti Kaljulaid, Estonia's first and only female head of state, to Zuzana Aputova, Slovakia's first female president and the country's youngest leader in history, these women leaders have paved the way for future generations of female leaders and continue to inspire change and progress in their countries and the world at large. These women have demonstrated through their leadership that gender is not a barrier to political success and have turned into rays of hope for women all around the world who want to hold positions of leadership in politics.

Mette Frederiksen

Mette Frederiksen is a Danish politician who has held the positions of leader of the Social Democrats since June 2015 and prime minister of Denmark since June 2019. She is the youngest prime minister in Danish history and only the second woman to hold either position.

Frederiksen has never worked outside of politics, excluding a brief stint as a trade unionist in 2000–2001. She attained the record for the longest tenured female head of state in the European Union in December 2021.

Kersti Kaljulaid

Kersti Kaljulaid is an Estonian politician who served as the country's fifth president from 2016 to 2021. She was also the youngest president, having been elected at the age of 46, and the first and only female head of state of Estonia since the nation's declaration of independence in 1918.

Kaljulaid describes herself as a liberal conservative. She has advocated for a strong civil society with less government intervention and emphasised how important it is to assist people in need. On social issues like immigration and Gay rights, she has liberal opinions. Kaljulaid made history in 2017 when she was named The World's 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes magazine. She was ranked 78th overall and ranked twenty-second among the most significant female political figures.

Sanna Mirella Marin

Sanna Mirella Marin is a Finnish politician who has been the country's Prime Minister since 2019. She has served as a member of Parliament since 2015 and is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP).

Marin received her degree from Tampere University. She joined the Social Democratic Youth in 2006, and from 2010 to 2012 she held the position of vice president. She served on the Tempere City Council before being elected to the Parliament. On December 8, 2019, Marin was chosen as prime minister after Antti Rinne resigned in the midst of the postal strike issue.

She assumed office at the age of 34, making history as the youngest person to hold the position in Finland. She is also the fourth-youngest state leader in the world, behind Ibrahim Traoré of Burkina Faso, Gabriel Boric of Chile, and Dritan Abazovi of Montenegro.

Elisabeth Borne

Since May 2022, French politician Elisabeth Borne has held the position of Prime Minister. She belongs to the Renaissance party, which is led by President Emmanuel Macron.

Borne formerly held the positions of minister of transportation (2017–2019) and minister of ecology. Borne is a civil engineer, government official, and manager of state businesses in the transport and construction sectors (2019–2020). In the Castex administration from 2020 to 2022, she served as minister of labour, employment, and integration. Following Castex's resignation on May 16, 2022, President Macron selected her as the country of France's new prime minister, as is customary after a presidential election. After Edith Cresson, who held the role from 1991 to 1992, Borne is the second woman to hold it.

Katerina Sakellaropoulou

Greek judge Katerina Sakellaropoulou is serving as the country's president since March 13th, 2020. On January 22, 2020, she was chosen by the Greek Parliament to succeed Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Sakellaropoulou presided over the Council of State, Greece's highest administrative court, before being elected president. She is the first female president of the nation.

Katalin Eva Veresne Novak

Katalin Eva Veresne Novak is a Hungarian politician who was elected president of Hungary in the 2022 presidential election. At 44 years old, Novak was elected as Hungary's first female president and its youngest leader in the country's history. Novak, a Fidesz member, also held the positions of Minister for Family Affairs in the fourth Oaban government from 2020 to 2021 and Member of the National Parliament from 2018 to 2022.

Ingrida imonyt

Ingrida imonyt is a Lithuanian politician and economist who has been the country's Prime Minister since December 11, 2020. She served as the second Kubilius cabinet's minister of finance from 2009 until 2012 and has been a member of the Seimas of Antakalnis since 2016.

In the parliamentary elections of 2020, where the Homeland Union secured a majority of seats, she was re-elected to Parliament. Imonyt was offered as the prime ministerial candidate by a coalition made up of the Homeland Union, Liberal Movement, and Freedom Party after the election results were certified. She entered office on December 11 and named her government at the same time.

Zuzana Aputova

Zuzana Aputova is a politician, attorney, and environmentalist from Slovakia. She assumed office on June 15, 2019, becoming Slovakia's fifth president. At age 45, aputová was elected as Slovakia's first female president and its youngest leader in the country's history.

Aputová originally gained notoriety by winning a ten-year battle to prevent the placement of a hazardous landfill in her community of Pezinok. Aputova received the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize as a result of this. In the second round of voting for president of Slovakia in 2019, she received 58% of the vote.