Happy International Women’s Day!

In celebration of this annual momentous occasion, I thought I’d share with you some phenomenal Muslim leaders who happen to be women. These women led their countries’ governments way before we had the “nasty woman” movement here in the West. Bam. What’s that you said about us being oppressed?

Check out this impressive list of leaders who paved the way for excellence in breaking the glass ceiling in their own country within the last 40 years:


Wikimedia Commons

Country: Pakistan

Title: Prime Minister

Years of Service: From 1988 to 1990; and then again from 1993 to 1996. She was assassinated in 2007, but before her death, she set precedence for Muslim women leading a nation.

Quote: “As a woman leader, I thought I brought a different kind of leadership. I was interested in women’s issues, in bringing down the population growth rate… as a woman, I entered politics with an additional dimension – as a mother.”



Country: Bangladesh

Title: Prime Minister

Years of service: From 1991 to 1996, and then again from 2001 to 2006

Quote: “From my experience, voters do not see any difference between men and women. They judge candidates for what they say. It is possible for women to come up in politics in Bangladesh now without any family connections. In this we are equal.”



Country: Turkey

Title: Prime Minister

Years of service: From 1993 to 1996

Quote: “Nobody today can resist a ripe idea. The idea today is change.”



Country: Bangladesh

Title: Prime Minister

Years of service: From 1996 to 2001, and was elected to serve as Prime Minister once again in 2009 to the present.

Quote: “Maintaining decency, we could go anywhere and do all of our works — Islam gives that liberty and scope to women …women have to create their own fate and work out their own future.”


(FILES) Mame Madior Boye poses for a photo 03 March 2001 at the Presidental Palace in Dakar during her presentation as Senegal’s new Prime Minister by President Abdoulaye Wade after Moustapha Niasse was dismissed. A French judge issued international arrest warrants on September 12, 2008, for nine Senegalese officials over the 2002 sinking of the Joola ferry, Africa’s worst maritime disaster, a lawyer for the French victims said. The officials targeted over the accident, which left 1,863 people dead including 22 French nationals, include Senegalese former prime minister Mame Madior Boye, a French judicial official confirmed. Licensed to carry 550 people, it had 1,927 passengers on board when it sank. Only 64 people survived the accident which claimed more lives than the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)


Country: Senegal

Title: Prime Minister

Years of Service: From 2001 to 2002

Fact: She was the first female Prime Minister of Senegal. The second female Prime Minister of Senegal would come 11 years later when Aminata Touré served from September 2013 until July 2014.



Country: Indonesia

Title: President

Years of service: From 2001 to 2004

Quote: “I want to encourage our people, to educate our people to have the courage to understand and fight for their rights.”



Country: Kyrgzstan

Title: President

Years of service: From 2010 to 2011

Quote: “I am a fighter. I believe in the bright future of my country. I believe that the people of my country deserve a decent life, and I know that my people want to live in freedom.”


Wikimedia Commons

Country: Kosovo

Title: President

Years of service: From 2011 to 2016

Quote: “The power of women in the politics is a soft power. It is a positive change that our country and other countries in the region… are making by giving a chance to women.”



Country: Mauritius

Title: President

Years of service: From 2015 to the present

Quote: “Great leaders sometimes fail because of the failure to listen or question their mistakes.”