Women Black Leaders (outside Africa)

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership

outside of Africa (Until 2013)

 1967-68 President of the United Nations-Trusteeship Council in charge of Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands Territories

1953-58 Assistant Attorney General and 1956-73 Assistant Secretary of State and in 1958 she acted as Chief Executive as both the President and the Secretary of State were abroad for some days. 1967-68 President of the United Nations-Trusteeship Council (Administering Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands Territories), 1969 and 1976 she was President of the General Assembly of the UN, 1973-75 Ambassador-at-Large, 1975-77 Ambassador to the United Nations and Cuba, and in 1977 appointed Judge in the Supreme Court. She lived (1928-2007).

1967-72 Governor Dr. Dame Hilda Louisa Bynoe, Grenada (British Dependency)

A former doctor and Hospital Administrator she is so far the only woman to have been governor of one of the British Dependencies. (b. 1921).

1971-74 De-facto Ruler Simone Ovide Duvalier inHaiti

Known as "Mama Doc", she was widow of dictator Dr. François Duvalier ("Papa Doc"), President 1957-71, who was succeeded by their son, Jean-Claude Duvalier ("Baby Doc") who showed little interest in the government. She remained very powerful till he was ousted in 1986. Mrs. Duvalier was reported to be a voodoo adept, and inspired dread among Haiti's poor and illiterate masses. She lived (circa 1913-97).


1977 Minister President Lucinda E. da Costa Gomez-Matheeuws, The Netherlands Antilles (Dutch External Territory)

Minister of Health and Environment, Welfare, Youth, Sports, Culture and Recreation 1970-77 and in 1977 Minister Presidente and Minister of General Affairs. She was also Vice-President of The Nationale Volkspartij 1971-76 and around 1995 Member of the Raad van Advies, the Council of Advisors. She is the widow of Dr. M.F. da Costa Gomez (1907-66), Premier of the state 1951-54.  (b.5.4.29-).

1979 Acting Governor General Dr. Dame Doris Louise Johnson, Bahamas

1968-69 Minister without Portfolio and Leader of the Government in the Senate 1968-69, Minister of Transport 1969-72. As Speaker of the Senate 1973-83 she was Deputy the Governor and at least on one occasion Acting Governor-General during the absence of the office-holder. She lived (1921-83).

1980-95 Prime Minister Dame Eugenia Charles, Dominica

When the Dominica Labour Party attempted to limit dissent with a sedition act in 1968, Charles became involved in politics. In 1970, she was appointed to the legislature and in 1975, to the house of assembly, where she became the leader of the opposition. She co-founded the Dominica Freedom Party. As Prime minister she immediately began programs of economic reform and to end government corruption. She is a strict constitutionalist and her colleagues consider her a brilliant lawyer and a savvy politician. In 1983, Charles encouraged the U.S. invasion of Grenada to prevent Cuban infiltration of that island. Her primary concern was to improve the lives of the citizens. She encouraged tourism to a small degree, but was determined to preserve the island's ecology and national identity. During her tenure as Prime Minister she was also Minister of External Affairs, Finance, Trade and Industry, Defence, Minister of Information and Public Relations. She lived (1916-2005).

1980-86 Politically Influential Michéle Bennett Duvalier in Haiti

Often exercised political control, issuing orders and attending cabinet meetings because she was frustrated by the ineptness of her husband, President-for-life Jean-Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc).  In 1986 the couple was forced into exile and she later left him. 

1981-93 Governor General Dr. Dame Elmira Minita Gordon, Belize

Commissioner of Belize City 1970-77, before becoming the official representative of the Queen of Belize, Queen Elizabeth. (b. 1930-).

1982-85 President of the Conseil General 
1983 President of Conseil Regional
1991-2004 President of the Conseil General Luchette Michaux-Chevry, Guadalupe (French External Territory)

Beside from her position as chief of government, she has also held posts in the French government,  1986-87 Secretary of State and 1993-95 Minister Delegate of Foreign Affairs in the French Government, 1987-95 Maire de Gourbreyre, and from 1995 Mayoress de Basse-Terre (b. 1929-).

Maria Philiberta Liberia-Peters

1984-86 and 1988-93 Minister President Maria Ph. Liberia-Peters, Nederlandse Antillen (Dutch External Territory)

Health Councillor 1977-78 and Lieutenant-Governor of Curaçau 1982. Minister of Economy 1982-83 and 1984-86 also, Minister of General Affairs and the Interior, Health and Environment. She resigned as Premier after she had lost a referendum on the autonomy of Curaçau. She was also Chairperson of the Nationale Volkspartij/Partido Nashional de Peuplo (PNP) 1984-98 and 2002-04. (b. 1941-).

1985-91 2nd. Vice-President and 2nd. Deputy Prime Minister Viola Harper Burnham, Guyana

As Deputy Head of State and the Government, she was in charge of Social Development. She was the widow of President Burnham who died 1985. She lived (1930-2003).

1990-91 Acting President Ertha Pascal-Trouillot, Haiti 

She was the first female High Court Judge 1986-90 and became acting President during the turbulent political situation in Haiti in a period where one Coup d’etat followed the other. During an attempted coup she was held hostage on one occasion by soldiers attempting a coup. (b. 1943-). 

1990-95 (†) Governor General Dame Nita Barrow, Barbados

She was head of national and international nurse organizations before becoming Ambassador to the UN, Cuba and the Dominican Republic 1986-90. She was the sister of Errol W. Barrow (1920-87), Prime Minister 1966-76 and 1986-87. She died in office as the official representative of Queen Elizabeth, and lived (1916-95).

Suzi Römer

1993 and 1998-99 Minister President Mr. Suzanne Camelia-Römer, Nederlandse Antillen (Dutch External Territory)

Suzi Römer had been Minister of Justice since 1992 when she became acting Premier after the resignation of Mrs. Liberia-Peters. 1999-2002 Vice-Premier and Minister of Economy and the National Recovery Plan, and 1998-2002 Leader of the Partido Nashional di Pueplo (b. 1959). 

1994- Foreign Minister Dame Billie Antoinette Miller, Barbados

Labour MP from 1976 and holder of various portfolios, among others as Deputy Premier 1994-2003. Later awarded with the title of Dame. (b. 1944-).

1995-96 Premier Minister Claudette Werleigh, Haïti

An economist she became Minister of Social Affairs 1990-91, Minister of Foreign Affairs 1993-95 and was Executive Director of the Washington Office of Haiti 1993, before becoming head of the government. Later an UN official. (b. 1946-). 

1995-2002 Foreign Minister Janet Bostwick, Bahamas

The first female MP 1977-2002. 1992-94 Minister of Housing and Labour,  1994-95 Minister of Justice and Immigration, 1995-2001 Attorney General. 1998 she was the first woman to act as Prime Minister during the absence from the country of both the Premier and his deputy, and later acted on various other occasions. She is married to The Hon. John Bostwick the President of the Senate 1992-2002, they have 3 children. (b. 1939-).

1997-  Governor General Dr. Dame C. Pearlette Louisy, St. Lucia

Calliopa Pearlette Louisy was civil servant, before becoming the official representative of Queen Elizabeth. (b. 1946-)

1997-98 Premier Pamela Felicity Gordon, Bermuda (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom)

Parliamentary Secretary of Community Development, Culture and Youth 1992, Minister of Youth, Sport and Recreation 1992-96, Environment, Planning and National Resources 1996-97. As Premier she was also Minister of Information and Attorney General. She was former Deputy Chairperson and was elected to succeed the previous Premier after his resignation. She was Leader of the United Bermuda Party 1997-2001 and leader of the Opposition 1998-2001.  (b. 1955-).

1997-2005 Chief Secretary Cynthia Astwood, Turk and Caicos Islands (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom)
2002 Acting Governor (26.11-16.12)

Member of the Executive Council, ranking below the Governor and has acted as such on various occasions when the incumbent was abroad. In 2002 she filled the gap between two governors.

1998-2003 Premier Jennifer Meridith Smith, Bermuda (United Kingdom Dependency)

Deputy Opposition Leader 1994-96, Opposition Leader 1996-98 as Leader of the Progressive Labour Party, PLP. As Premier she also held the Portfolios of Education and Human Affairs. She was ousted by her own party just three days after she led it to an historic General Election victory. (b. circa 1948-).

1998-2002 Peridodically Acting Deputy Governor Lorna Smith, British Virgin Islands (External Territory of United Kingdom and Great Britain)
2002 Acting Deputy Governor (05.10-14.10.02)
Acted as Deputy Governor on various occasions, while Elton Georges served as Governor in the absence of Governor Frank Savage (1998-2002). 1986-95 Permanent Secretary to the Chief Minister and later Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works, she is now Executive Director of the BVI International Finance Centre. She is married to Opposition leader the Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith.

2000-05 Foreign Minister Maria Elisabeth Levens, Suriname

Trained teacher and former head of various bureaus within the Ministry of Education and Community Development and Policy Advisor to the Minister of Education. Also chair or member of several commissions, from 1975 Secretary of the Progressive Women’s Union and Chairperson of the Forum of NGO’s in Suriname 1991-2000.  (b. 1950-).

2001-05 Governor General Dr. Dame Ivy Leona Dumont, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Deputy Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Works and Utilities 1975-78 worked in the private sector before becoming Secretary General of The National Movement Party 1990-92. She was Leader of the Government in the Senate 1990-2001, Minister of Social Affairs, Environment and Health 1992-95 and Minister of Education 1995-2001. She had officially retired when appointed acting G-G. in November 2001 and officially sworn in as representative of the Queen of Bahamas, Queen Elizabeth, at 01.01.02. (b. 1930-).

2002 Acting Governor General Monica Dacon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (May-September)

The Deputy Governor General since 2001, she acted during the illness of the Governor General Sir Charles Antrobus (1933-96-2002), and after his death until a successor was appointed.

2003-04 Minister-President Mirna Louisa-Godett, Nederlandse Antillen (External Territory of The Netherlands)

Sister of the Leader of Frente Obrero Liberashon 30 di Mei (FOL) Anthony Godett, who could not become Premier because he was charged with and later convicted for corruption and fraud. Married to a member of the Legislature for FOL, Johnny Louisa. She became head of a coalition government, which did not last long. (b. 1954-).

2004 Acting Deputy Governor Lisa E. Penn-Lettsome, British Virgin Islands (External Territory of United Kingdom and Great Britain) (January-September)

Permanent Secretary for Administration until her retirement in 2004.

2005-10 Governor-General Michaëlle Jean, Canada

The official representative of the Queen of Canada, she was daughter of Haitian immigrants who fled the Duvalier regime in 1968, former university literature professor, social activist and veteran CBC broadcaster from Quebec. Married to French-born Jean-Daniel Lafond, and mother of Marie-Eden (b. 1999). She is (b. 1957-).

2005 Acting Prime Minister Cynthia A. Pratt, Bahamas (03.05-22.06)

Became Acting Prime Minister when the incumbent suffered a minor stroke, but has acted on a number of occasions before, when he was abroad. She is also known as "Mother" Pratt. As Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Security 2002-07 she was in charge of the Defence Force and Police. She was Opposition Whip Circa 1992-2000 and from circa 2000 Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Leader of the Progressive Liberal Democratic Part. A former nurse, she is mother of 6 children (b. 1945-).

2005- Chief Secretary Mahala Wynns, Turk and Caicos Islands (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom)
2005 Acting Governor

Acting Governor 21.06-11.07 in the period until a new governor was inaugurated after his predecessor left. As Chief Secretary she is member of the Executive Committee.

2005-09 Foreign Minister Condoleezza Rice, United States of America

Director of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council 1989-93. Professor of International Affairs of Stanford University. 2001-05 Cabinet Member and National Security Advisor before becoming Secretary of State (Foreign Minister). (b. 1954-)

2005-10 Minister of Foreign Affairs Lygia Kraag-Keteldijk, Suriname

Director of Political Affairs in the Cabinet of the President 2000-05 before taking over the external portfolio. (b. 1941-).

2006-07 and 2012- Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Jamaica

Since 1976 MP, 1976-82 Parliamentary Secretary of the Prime Minister, Deputy President of People's National Party 1978-2006 and President from 2006. Minister of Labour, Social Welfare and Sports 1989-2000, Candidate for the party leadership and Premiership in 1992, Minister of Tourism, Entertainment, Sports and Women’s Affairs 2000-02 and Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport from 2002. Acting Prime Minister on various occasions whenever the chief of government was out of the country. (b. 1946-).

2006 Acting Governor Dancia Penn, British Virgin Islands (External Territory of United Kingdom and Great Britain)
The Deputy Governor since 2004, she has acted as governor on different occations, but in 2006 she was in charge in the interim between two governors from 10. to 18. April. She was Attorney-General and ex-officio member of the Legislative Council 1992-99 (b. 1951-).

2007- Governor-General Dame Louise Lake-Tack, Antigua and Barbuda

A former nurse and magistrate from 1995. (b. 1944-).

2007-10 Foreign Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, Trinidad and Tobago

MP for the governing People’s National Movement (PNM).

Michèle D. Pierre-Louis 2008-09 Prime Minister Michèle Pierre-Louis, Haiti
The third nominee by president Preval since March, has been Executive Director of the Foundation of Knowledge and Liberty since 1995. (b. 1947-).

2008 Acting President of the Executive Council  Marthe Ogoundelé-Tessi, St-Martin (French External Territory)

2007-08 1. Vice-President in charge of Employment, Educational Training, Professional Training, Teaching, Culture, Youth and Sports, School Transport, Also President of the Conseil Territory, Candidate for the Post of President in 2008 and since 2008 Member of the Executive Council.

2008- Deputy Governor Inez Archibald, British Virgin Island (External Territory of the United Kingdom)
2010 Acting Governor (7-20 August)

Vivian Inez Archibald has been a member and Chairperson of the BVI Public Service Commission, the BVI Judicial and Legal Services Commission, the BVI Income Tax Appeal Board and the Family Support Network and Speaker of the Legislative Council 2003-07. Acting Governor from the former holder of the office left the island and until the new Governor arrived. (b. 1945-)

2008- Foreign Minister Maxine McClean, Barbados

Appointed Senator and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Leader of Government Business in the Senate in January 2008. From November 2008 also Minister of Foreign Trade.

2010-13 Premier Paula A. Cox, Bermuda (British Dependent Territory)

Succeeded her father, Eugene Cox as Minister of Finance when he died in January 2004. 1998-2002 Minister of Labour and Home Affairs and Public Security, 2002-04 Minister of Education, 2002-03 Minister of Development, 2003-04 Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Minister of Finance since 2004, Deputy Leader of the Progressive Labour Party and Deputy Premier 2006-10 and Party Leader 2010-13. (b. 1969-).

2011 Acting Governor Sarita Francis, Montserrat (UK External Territory)
Civil Servant from 1972, Chief Establishment Officer (CEO) / Head of Service since 2007 and Deputy Governor from 2009.

2012 Acting Governor-General Sandra Mason, Barbados
She is a judge of the Supreme Court.

2012- Governor Lydia A. Emerencia, Bonaire (The Netherlands)
Former Director of the Center for Research and Development at the University of Aruba. The island became a municipality - a special body - within the Netherlands in 2010. (b.1954-)

2012- Deputy Governor Anya Williams, Turks and Caicos (British External Territory)
Former Permanent Secretary of Finance. As Deputy Governor she is a non-voting member of Cabinet, Head of the public service and chair of the Permanent Secretaries’ committee.

2012- President of the Conseil Regional Josette Borel-Lincertin, Guadaloupe (French External Territory)
First Vice-President 2005-12.

2013- Prefect of Marcelle Pierrot, ¨The Department and Region of Guadelupe  (French Overseas Territory)
1993-95 Sous-préfète  of Lunéville, 2000-03 Sous-préfèt d’Arles, 2006-07 Delegate Prefect in charge of Equality by the Prefect of the Region of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur,  2007-09 Prefect of Lot, 2009-11 of Tarn and 2011-13 of of Vosges. Held a number of other administrative posts. (b. 1949-)

Last update 31.01.13







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