Croatia's First Woman President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, & 6 More Female Heads Of State Who Made History

History was made on Sunday when, by the narrowest of margins, Croatia elected its first female president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, beating out incumbent Ivo Josipovic by a mere 1 percent of votes. Croatia, the newest member of the European Union, has a weak economy with its nearly 20 percent unemployment rate and, even more worryingly, a 41.5 percent youth unemployment rate. Hopefully Grabar-Kitarovic, the 46-year-old former foreign minister of Croatia and assistant to the NATO secretary general, will be able to pull the country out of its economic woes.

But in case you were wondering, Grabar-Kitarovic is only one of a long list of badass female presidents and prime ministers around the world who have made history — here's a look at some of them.

Image: Security & Defence Agenda/Flickr

Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Denmark’s first female president, elected to power in 2011, made headlines when she took a selfie with President Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, sparking a collective shaking of heads by critics who deemed it “embarrassing.”

Although her personal affairs seem to be the subject of many a gossip magazine back in her homeland, Thorning-Schmidt has been praised for the Nordic country’s economic growth, stronger exports, and higher employment, as well as for her leadership in environmental policies.

Image: Getty Images

Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Sheikh Hasina

Born with Bangladeshi politics in her blood, Hasina was forced into exile after the murder of her father, the first president of Bangladesh, only to return to her country to face repeated stints of imprisonments and house arrests.

The 67-year-old has led a tumultuous life, including dropped murder and corruption charges, assassination attempts, and the near-decimation of her entire family. Hasina has seen a lot, but more importantly, triumphed as one of the most enduring and high-profile presidents Bangladesh has ever seen.

Image: Getty Images

Carsten Koall/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Angela Merkel

What list of awesome female leaders would be complete without this remarkable leader? Germany’s first female chancellor has been a leading figure of authority not only in the country, of course, but also in the European Union. She pretty much single-handedly steered the EU through the murky debt crisis in 2011, and is currently up against Russia’s Vladimir Putin in the struggle for the continent’s future.

Image: Getty Images

Adam Berry/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Benazir Bhutto

The seventh anniversary of the late Pakistani prime minister’s tragic assassination — allegedly the work of suicide bombers — was observed on Dec. 27, 2014, a remembrance of her legacy and significance in history.

Bhutto was a controversial figure, known as much for her scandals as her achievements. Although there were allegations of corruption and bad governance, Bhutto endured house arrest and exile, fought religious and cultural norms to become the first ever female to lead an Islamic country, and strived to bring democracy to Pakistan.

Image: Getty Images

Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Margaret Thatcher

Another deeply controversial figure, the Iron Lady was the first female prime minister of Britain from 1979 until 1990, holding office for longer than any other British lawmaker in the 20th century. Thatcher was known for her strict values of economic and individual liberty, as well as her belief in the free market, but was also deeply against labor unions, blue-collar industries, and welfare.

Her death in April 2013 brought out a wave of both sorrow and vindication, marking just how divisive a figure she came to be.

Image: Getty Images

WPA Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton?

Well, she’s not president of the United States (yet), but Clinton looks all set to announce a presidential bid. Fingers crossed that it happens soon, because I don’t know about you, but the tension is killing me.

Image: Getty Images

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images