Global Journalist: The election of Laura Chinchilla, Costa Rica's first woman president, brings discussion

Friday, February 12, 2010 | 12:36 p.m. CST; updated 10:12 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stuart Loory, Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies, Missouri School of Journalism: A woman was elected president of Costa Rica last week, and another was denied the presidency of Ukraine where she had been prime minister for five years. Women leaders of nations are not new. In the last part of the 20th century, there were women heads of government and state like Golda Meir in Israel, Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom, Indira Gandhi in India and Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. In the U.S. Congress, 76 members of the House of Representatives and 17 senators are women. President Obama has appointed seven women to his Cabinet, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. So does the landslide election of Laura Chinchilla in Costa Rica on Feb. 7 or the defeat of Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for the presidency of her country mean anything as far as the growing number of leadership positions by women is concerned?