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Women’s Paths to Power: Female Presidents and Prime Ministers, 1960–2020

Evren Celik Wiltse and Lisa Hager
Women’s Paths to Power: Female Presidents and Prime Ministers, 1960–2020
ISBN: 978-1-62637-928-2
ISBN: 978-1-62637-930-5
ISBN: 978-1-62637-984-8
2021/303 pages/LC: 2020047203
"Rich and insightful.... Celik Wiltse and Hager expand upon existing research on women in politics and contribute to knowledge production in the field." —Dipti Tamang, International Affairs

"Women’s Paths to Power not only fills a gap in the current literature on female prime ministers and presidents serving from 1960 to 2020, but also provides an important lens through which to view the paths taken by women executive leaders in the future."—Dianne Bystrom, Iowa State University


From Brazil to Bangladesh, Liberia to Switzerland, Malta to the Marshall Islands, more and more women are rising to the top level of political leadership. What can we learn from this?  What kinds of conditions and political institutions pave the way for a woman's ascendance to power? Are there common pathways to power? How much do family ties matter? Is political activism and important factor?

Evren Celik Wiltse and Lisa Hager answer these questions, and more, in their comprehensive study encompassing all the women presidents and prime ministers around the world from the 1960s through 2020.


Evren Celik Wiltse is associate professor of political science and Lisa Hager is assistant professor of political science at South Dakota State Unviersity.


  • Women's Paths to Political Power.
  • The Family Path.
  • The Activist Path.
  • The Political Career Path.
  • The Impact of Political and Institutional Dynamics.
  • The Impact of Previous Women Leaders.
  • The Longevity Puzzle.
  • Why Not Clinton or Le Pen?
  • The Importance of the Paths to Power.
  • Appendix: Brief Biological Notes on Female Presidents and Prime Ministers, 2010-2020.