The past week highlighted the gains women have made in getting elected to leadership positions.

1) Dalia Grybauskaite, was elected Sunday as the first female president of Lithuania, the Baltic nation battling a particularly deep recession.

Ms. Grybauskaite, 53, a tough-talking former finance minister with a black belt in karate, ran as an independent candidate, enhancing her popularity in contrast to the main political parties, whose standings were undermined by the economic downturn and allegations of corruption.

With 96 percent of votes counted, she secured a little more than 68 percent support. Turnout was 51 percent, just above the 50 percent needed to give her a first-round victory and avoid a runoff.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/18/world/europe/18lithuania.html?ref=world

2) In India Sonia Gandhi lead her National Indian Congress Party to the most sweeping election victory in the last 25 years.

“NEW DELHI — Eleven years ago, when she took over as president of India’s oldest political party, Sonia Gandhi was seen as India’s most improbable politician: a foreigner with a shaky command of Hindi, reclusive to the point of seeming aloof, a wife who had fought to keep her husband from joining politics and who lost him to an assassination.

Today, Mrs. Gandhi, 62, is credited with having scored a stunning political coup. Her Indian National Congress party made its best performance in 25 years in the parliamentary elections completed last week, picking up 205 of 543 seats on its own, and with its coalition partners coming only 12 seats shy of an outright majority. All it needs to do now to form a government is stitch up alliances with a handful of independents and small parties.

No longer would it be beholden to the many small party bosses that it needed during the first five-year term a Congress-led coalition was in office. Most important, for the sake of foreign and economic policy, it would no longer have to rely on India’s Communist parties to stay in power, as it had for most of that time.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/18/world/asia/18india.html?pagewanted=1&hpw

3) The most surprising, almost shocking, election results was that for the first time in it’s history Kuwaitis elected four women to it’s parliament.

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwaitis elected female parliament members for the first time and rejected a number of Islamic fundamentalist candidates in a weekend vote that many hoped would bring stability to the country’s rocky political scene.

Women gained the right to vote and run for office in 2005 but failed in two previous elections to win seats in the 50-member parliament. Four women were elected in Saturday’s vote, according to official results read out by judges on state-owned TV on Sunday.

Kuwait has led the region in giving its people democratic rights. It has an elected parliament that wields considerable power, but the Cabinet is still chosen and led by a ruling family that holds ultimate power.

Radical religious politicians have fought against extending political rights to women. And at the same time, they have pushed for full implementation of Islamic law, or Sharia, in the oil-rich U.S. ally.

”This is a message that the Kuwaiti society has started to move away from such movements that are based on hatred,” said political commentator Sami al-Nisf.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/05/17/world/AP-ML-Kuwait-Election-Women.html?_r=1&ref=global-home

One of the most postive changes that has occurred since I was growing up has been the opportunity that women have gained, fought for, to obtain positions of leadership.  In the world of the 1940’s I was born into a women’s place was in the kitchen, not the executive lounge.  The glass ceiling does still exist, but it is starting to crack.

What would you say has been the most significant change to your society in the years since you were born? 

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