24 June 2010

'Down Under' Comes Out on Top

Newest Woman Head of Government

The following notice was posted on the IntLawGrrls blog. As I am still far from the madding crowds -- now in Antioch (aka Antakya, Turkey) -- and Zenobia cannot let this 'Woman of Power' event pass without notice, I shamelessly copy their announcement of history-in-the-making from Australia:

About 3 hours ago Julia Gillard was sworn in as Prime Minister of Australia, the 1st woman to hold that position.

"Gillard was greeted with a kiss by her partner Tim Mathieson as she entered the room for the swearing-in." She took the oath from the country's 1st woman Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.

Gillard (above left) had been Deputy Prime Minister since 2007 (prior IntLawGrrls post).

On September 29, 1961, she was born into a working-class family in Wales. The family immigrated when she was 4. Gillard earned her law degree from the University of Melbourne, and practiced law before becoming Chief of Staff to the opposition leader in Parliament in 1995. Three years later, she herself was elected, and has served in Parliament ever since. (credit for photo by Rebecca Hallas)

Gillard's selection Wednesday as the new Prime Minister brought tears to the eyes of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, who lost a struggle to retain leadership of the Labor Party to which both belong. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that "Mr Rudd had decided to fight to the death after refusing to step aside last night for Ms Gillard."

A partial list of women heads of government or state to which Gillard now belongs:
Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Doris Leuthard of Switzerland, Pratibha Patil of India, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina and Kyrgyzstan's interim government leader Roza Otunbayeva.
Can you name others?

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