01/14/2011 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Women Leadership: Voters Launch A Power Surge Of Women

Over the past decade, almost every region of the world has seen exponentially more political seats -- legislative and executive -- go to women. Iceland's 42.9 percent female representation in the legislature, for instance, now sits in the rankings behind South Africa's 44.5 percent, Cuba's 43.2 percent, and Rwanda's 56.3 percent, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Eighteen countries also have women as heads of state. Earlier this year, Julia Gillard took over as prime minister in Australia, Iveta Radicova became the first female prime minister of Slovakia, and Roza Otunbayeva took power in Kyrgyzstan after street protests toppled President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

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