Woman Vice Premiers 1920-90

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership


This is a list of the women who have been deputy leaders of governments, some with and some without the title of Deputy Premier. Many have been acting Premier Ministers on various occasions. 

1939-43 Rozaliia Samoilovna Zemliachka, United Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR)
Also known as Rozaliya Samoylovna Zalkind, she was member of the Social Democratic Party from 1898 and member of it's Central Committee in 1903. Ative in the 1905 Moscow-revolution and in 1909 Secretary of the Party Organization in Baku before immigrating. She returned during World War I, and during the Civil War she was head of the political department of the 8th and 13th armies. First Secretary of the Crimean Party 1920-21 and one of the persons responsible for the blood bath in the area. She held many high party posts before becoming member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and Vice-President of the Council of People's Commissars and in charge of State Control of the Economy. She lived (1876-1947).

1944 Wanda Wasilewska, Poland
Vice-Chairperson of PKWN - Polish Committee of National's Emancipation – The Temporary Polish Communist Government - which was in office 20.07-31.12. She was a writer, communist activist, and Stalin's favourite, and lived (1905-64).

1949-52 Ana Pauker, Rumania
Minister of Foreign Affairs 1947-52 and Vice-Premier. Before that she had been Leader of the Romanian Communists in USSR 1940-44 and circa 1940-53 Responsible for the collectivizing of the Agriculture in the Politburo, 1944-56 Secretary General of the Communist Party. She was born Rabinovici but changed her name because of anti-Semitic sentiments, which eventually caused her down-fall. She was daughter of Rabbi Hersch Kaufmann Robinsohn and lived (1893-1960)

1949-54 Song Qingling, China  
After her tenure as Vice-Premier, she was Vice-Chairperson of the Republic 1954-75 and became Honorary President of China shortly before her death. She lived (1893-1980). More details in Presidents

1954-63 Ludmilla Jankovcova, Czechoslovkia  
Before becoming Vice-Chair of the Council Ministers, she was Minister of Light Industry, 1947-48 Minister of Food 1948-50 and 1950-54 Minister of Food Industry. She lived (1897-1990).

1958 Tyyne Leivo-Larsson, Finland  

1945-56 Deputy Mayor of Helsinki, 1945 Second Minister of Social Affairs for Health, 1956-57 Second Minister of Social Affairs for Health. Apart from being Vice-Premier in 1958 she was also Minister without Portfolio. 1958-66 Ambassador to Norway and Iceland and 1966-70 Parliamentary Leader of the Social Democratic Union. She lived (1902-77)

1961-67 Dr. Grete Wittkowski, German Democratic Republic (DDR)
Margarethe was Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers in charge of Trade, Supply, and Production of Consumer Goods 1961-67, President of the National Bank 1967-74 and Member of the Council of Ministers in charge of Coordination of Supply, Production, Shopping and Distribution of Consumer Goods for Daily Needs, External Depths and Balance of Payment 1972-74 until her death. She was of Jewish origin she studied and lived in Switzerland, France and United Kingdom since 1932, she worked with the Soviet Occupation Administration 1952-58, Member of the Volkskammer 1952-58 and 1963-67, Vice-Chairperson of the State Planning Commitee 1954-61. She lived (1901-74).

1968-70 Barbara Castle, United Kingdom of Great Britain

Vice-Chairperson 1957-58 and Chairperson of Labour 1958-59, 1961 Leadership Candidate,1964-65 Minister of Overseas Development, 1965-68 Minister of Transport, 1968-70 First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity and third-ranking in the Cabinet,1974-76 Secretary of State of Social Security and Health Vice-President of the Socialist Group of the European Parliament 1985-89, Created Baroness Castle of Blackburn 1989 and is still a very active member of the House of Lords until her death. She lived (1910-2002)

1969-70 Sophie Madeleine Lihau-Kanza, Congo-Kinghasa
Also know as Sophie Lihau-N’kanza or Zala Lusibu N’kanza, she was Secretary of State of Social Affairs 1966-67, Minister of Social Affairs 1967-68, Minister of State (Deputy Premier) and Minister of Social Affairs 1969-70. She lived (circa 1939-1999)

1971-81 Agatha Barbara, Malta
Her country's first female MP 1947-82, She was third in Cabinet and on various brief occasions Acting Prime Minister. President 1982-87. See biography in Presidents. She lived (1923-2002).

1975-77/78 Wu Guixian, China  
Before becoming Vice-Premier she was Deputy Secretary Between 1971-73 and 1973-76 Secretary of the Communist Party of Shaanxi, 1973-77 Member of the Politburo. She disappeared in 1977.  (b. 1937-?)

1977-79 Renuka Devi Barkataki, India (Third in the Cabinet)

She was Minister of Culture, Education and Social Welfare.

1978-82 Chen Muhua, China  
Before becoming Vice-Premier she had been  Vice-Minister of Economic Relations with Foreign Countries 1971-78. 1977-82 she was Minister of External Trade, 1981-82 Minister of Family Planning, 1982-88 Minister of External Trade and of Economic Relations with Foreign Countries, 1988-93 State Councillor, 1988 Executive Chairperson of the 1st session of the 7th NPC, 1988-98 Vice-Chairperson of the National Peoples' Congress (NPC), Former Chairperson of the People's Bank of China, The Central Bank. (b. 1933-)

1979-80 Flora I. MacDonald, Canada
1987-88 Acting Prime Minister (a number of days)
1986-89 (Third in Cabinet)
Executive Director of the Progressive Conservative Party 1957-66, 1966-69 National Secretary of the Party, MP 1972-89 and 1976 she was candidate for the Leadership of the Social Credit Party 1979-80 Secretary of State for External Affairs  (and second in the Cabinet), 1984-86 Minister of Labour and Immigration (Forth in cabinet) and 1986-89 Minister of Culture and Communication (b. 1926-)

1980-84 Colette Flesh, Luxembourg
1970-80 Mayor of Luxembourg Ville, 1974-80 Secretary General and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Group and 1980-91 Chairperson of Parti Democratique, 1980-84 Vice-Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs, External Trade, Economy, the Self Employed and Justice,1984-90 President of The Federation of European Liberal Parties 1991-97 Director General of The Directorate General of Information and 1997-99 Director General of the General Directorate of Translation of the European Union. And from 1999 again member of the European Parliament (b. 1934- )

1980 Nicole Questiaux, France   
1980 Minister of State and 1981-83 Minister of Social Affairs. In 1963 she became the first female member of the Council of State (Supreme Court) and was member again from  1983. Since 1988 President of the Section for Public Works, and from 2000 Vice-President of the Council d'Etat. (b. 1930-)

1980-89 (†) Dr. Elena Ceauceascu, Romania  
1973-89 Member of the Politburo and 1979-89 Minister and Chairperson of the Academy of Science and first Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers.  Elena Ceauşescu  was in fact the de-facto leader of the country via her control of Securitate and of her husband, Head of State and the Communist Party, Nicolai Ceauşescu, who became more and more ill, and was believed to be his most likely successor. They were both executed during the December-revolution of 1989. She lived  (1919-89)

1980-82 Cornelia Filipas, Romania   
After her tenure as Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, she was  Ambassador to Denmark 1982-89.

1981-circa 2002 Kim Pok-sin, North-Korea  
1958-66 Vice-Minister of Light Industry, 1966-69 Deputy Director of the Puongyang Local General Bureau of Industry, 1971-81 Minister of Textile and Paper Manufacturing Industry, from 1981 Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and Chairperson of the Committee for Light Industry. Also Alternate member of the Politburo from 1983. (b. 1925-)

1982-83 Caroline Diop  Faye, Senegal 
1971-circa 84 Deputy President of the National Assembly. 1978-81 Minister of Social Affairs,  
1981-83 Minister-Delegate by the Premier Minister and 1982-83 Minister of State (Third in Cabinet)

1983-88 Gunnevi Nordmann, Åland
1980-88 Member of the Government for Education and Culture and 1984-88 Vicelantråd (Deputy Chief of Government). She was MP 1988-95, Chairperson of the Law Committee 1988-91, Leader 1988-90 and Chairperson of the Liberal Party on Åland 1990-96. 1. Vice-Chairperson of the Landsting (Parliament) 1991-95. (b. 1935-)

1984-87 Dr. Csehák Judith, Hungary  
After having been Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and 1987-90, she was Minister of Social Affairs and Health and Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party , 1987-90. She was Chair of the Social Affairs' Committee of the Parliament 1990-95. (b. 1940-)

1985-89 Gertrud Sigurdsen, Sweden
1971-73 Deputy Group Leader of The Social Democrats , 1973-76 Minister without Portfolio of International Development, 1979-89 Deputy Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs’ Committee of Riksdagen, the National Assembly, 1982-87 Minister of Medical Services in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, 1985-89 Minister of Social Affairs and Health (Third in cabinet). (b. 1923- ) .

1985-91 Viola Harper Burnham, Guyana 
Both Vice-President and Deputy Prime Minister and  1985-90 Minister of Social Infrastructure. See profile at Vice-Presidents.

1990-96 Administrative Secretary of the Presidency Carmen Rosa Balaguer Hernandez, The Dominican Republic
Before becoming Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, she was Chairperson of the Legislative Chamber of the Grand National 1979-81 and  Member of the Politburo 1979-87. She was also First Secretary of the District of Bacau and Chairperson of the District Council 1979-81 and Member of the State Council 1980-89,  Minister of Labour 1986-87 and Chairperson of the District Council of Ialomite 1987-89. She lived (1932- 2012).

1986-87 Aneta Spornic, Romania  
Before serving as Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, she had been Deputy President of the National Assembly  1975-80 and 1975-79 Deputy Minister of Labour , 1979-82 Minister of Education, 1982-84 Minister of State and First Deputy Chairperson of the State-Planning-Committee, and later Ambassador to Venezuela.

1986-89 and 1992 Roza Isakovna Otunbaeva, Kyrgyzstan
Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs 1986-89, 1992 and 1994-96, and various ambassadorial posts. In 2005 she became Acting Foreign Minister.

1986-88 Maria Mambo Café, Angola
Deputy Minister of Internal Trade 1977-78,  Minister of Social Affairs Ca.1982-86  and Minister of State for the Economic and Social Sphere (Second in Cabinet after President Dos Santos) 1986-88 Deputy Premier. She was member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party 1986-88 and Governor of Cabinda in 1991. (b. 1945-)

1986-89 Moshina Kidway, India  
First woman Minister for Harijan and Social Welfare and then for Small Industries 1974-77 in Uttar Pradesh. In 1976 President of the UP Congress Committee. 1982-83 Minister of State for Labour and Rehabilitation, 1983-84 Minister of State for and 1984-86 Minister of Health and Family 1986-89 Minister of  Transport, Urban Development and Tourism (Second in the Cabinet). Still very influential in the Congress Party. Married her cousin. (b. 1932-)

1987-89 Shilabai Bappoo, Mauritius 
1973 President of Partie Mouvement Militant Mauricien 1983-95 Minister of Women's Affairs and Family  1987-89  of Labour and Industrial Relations (Third in cabinet) and 1991-95  of Welfare and Child Development (Fourth in cabinet). From 1996 Secretary General of Mouvement Socialiste Mauricien, of which she had been a member since 1983. Around 2000 Leader of the Rassemblement pour la Réforme. 

1987-89 Lina Ciobanu, Romania  
Before becoming Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, she had been  Minister of Light Industry 1975-87 and 1977-89 Member of the Politburo. In 1977 she was President of the National Council of Women. (b. 1929-)

1988-93 Tukabibi Amageldyeva, Turmenistan 
Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and Foreign Minister 1988-90.

1988-89 Aleksandra Pavlovna Biryukova, USSR  
Until 1984 Central Committee Secretary for Light and Consumer Industries. Also Candidate-Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the USSR

1988-92 May Valborg  Flodin, Åland  

1980-81 Member of the Government for Social Affairs and Health and for  Social Affairs and Health, 1988-91 Vicelandtråd. She was MP 1983 and 1991-95, member of the Nordic Council 1991-95. She lived (1935-2008)

1988-97 Aïssatou Yaou, Cameroon 
Minister of Women's Affairs from 1984, and the period 1988-97 also Minister of Social Affairs and third in cabinet. In 1981-85 Deputy Director of Finance, since 1985 President of the Women's Wing of the governing party. Her full name is Aïssatou Boubakari Yaou.

1989-90 Prof. Dr. Christa Luft, German Democratic Republic (DDR)  

Alternate Minister President and Minister of Economy. 1994-2002 Deputy Parliamentary Leader of The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) in the Federal Assembly (Bundestag) of reunited Germany (b. 1937-)

1989-90 Hon. Helen Clark, New Zealand  
MP since 1981. Deputy Premier and Minister of Labour and Health 1989-90, Prime Minister since 1999. See profile at Premier Ministers. (b. 1950-)

1989-90 Kazimiera Prunskiene, Lithuania

Also Minister of Economy 1989-90 and one of the leaders of the struggle for independence. She became Premier Minister after the declaration of independence at 11.3.90   See profile at Premier Ministers. (b. 1945-)

1989-91 Ann F. Cartwright-DeCouto, Bermuda  
MP 1980-98 and 1981-82 Parliamentary Secretary of Community Development, 1985-89 Minister of Health and Social Affairs, 1989-92 also Minister of Environment, 1993-94 Minister of the Delegated and Legislative Affairs.

1989-92 Shanyl Tumenbayevna Tumenbayeva, Kyrgyzstan  
Vice-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers.

The picture shows Mrs. Ewans and the other female member of the government, Alice Inez Buffett 1989-91 Rosemary Gaye Ewans, Norfolk Islands (Australian External Territory) 
Rosemary Gaye Ewans was concurrently Deputy President of the Legislature  

The picture shows Mrs. Ewans and the other female member of the government, Alice Inez Buffett

1989-90 Begum Nusrat Bhutto, Pakistan
Senior Minister without Portfolio and Second in Cabinet. Acted as deputy to her Daughter, Benazir Bhutto, and was acting Prime Minister on various occasions. Her two sons and oldest daughter, Benazir were all murdered or assassinated. Only the younger daughter, Sanam is still alive. Born as Nusrat Ispahani in Iranian Kurdistan. (b. 1929-)

1989-99 Aïssata Moumouni, Niger

Second in cabinet for many years. Since 1997 with the title of Minister of State.

Last update 14.04.14