Do women national leaders represent a breakthrough for the women?s movement, or is women?s leadership weaker than the numbers imply? This unique book is the first to provide a comprehensive overview of how and why women in 53 countries rose to the top in the years since World War II. It presents all 73 female presidents and prime ministers from around the world, from 1960 (when the first was elected) to 2010, organised by chronology and geography. Written by an experienced politician and academic, the introduction outlines the five forerunners on different continents from 1960 to 1975, then goes on to discuss world developments, concepts and methodological issues. The motives, achievements and life stories of the female top leaders, including findings from interviews carried out by the author, are then described and analysed to provide a nuanced picture of women in power. A series of regional chapters provide a global overview, and conclusions are drawn and discussed. This fascinating reader will have wide international appeal to students, academics, government officials, women?s and political activists as well as anyone interested in international affairs, politics, social issues, gender and equality.