Female National Leaders around the World Part 5 - Estonia

The motives behind the series are curiosity and social conscience – female leaders are still rare around the world, and this fact exposes some fundamental defects in our social systems. I want to emphasize that I am talking about national leaders here, heads of state and heads of government, who just happen to be female by association. The reason I am highlighting them is not to propose that there would be some kind of crucial difference between them and their male counterparts. Now that we have made that clear, we can dive into our quest around the world and encounter the female leaders – both liberal and conservative – we are currently able to find. On this part of our journey, we go just south from Finland, to Estonia!


Kersti Kaljulaid

Out of the three Baltic states in the northeast of Europe, Estonia is currently the only one with a female president, although both Latvia and Lithuania have had a female president in the past. Estonia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Before that, it had been independent for a little while between the two World Wars, in 1920‒1940.

Estonia is a parliamentary representative democracy, and it has been predominately ruled by center-right coalitions. Compared to the Finnish political scene, Estonian politics have been more characterized by liberal market policy and troubled relations with Russia. The President is the head of state and is elected for a five-year term. Largely ceremonial, the position of the President of Estonia is largely similar to that of Finland: the president appoints the prime minister and is also the supreme commander of the military forces.

Kersti Kaljulaid assumed office in October 2016. She became the first female president of Estonia, as well as, born in 1969, the youngest person ever to assume the office. As a former member of Pro Patria Union, she is a liberal conservative. Basically, this means that she has reasonably conservative views on economic policies, but liberal views on most social issues, such as immigration. Kaljulaid has a degree in both business management and biology – one of her specializations being ornithology!

As Estonia is also known for its prowess on digital technology and progress, Kaljulaid is also associated with the boost of the country’s reputation on the area. Estonia has advanced digital public services and is planning the launch of a state-backed cryptocurrency.

In 2017, Kersti Kaljulaid became the first Estonian woman ever to be featured in the Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Poweful Women. Read more about Kersti Kaljulaid for example here on Estonian World.


The hero image is published under CC BY 3.0 DE. Title added. Link to the license.