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Powerful Girl Names: International leaders

March 5, 2017 Tiana Putric

By Tiana Putric

International Women’s Day is observed all around the world each year on March 8th. This year’s theme calls on all of us to #BeBoldForChange. Meet twelve recent female history makers from Australia to Germany to Jamaica to Switzerland –– many of whom currently hold their country’s highest office and were the first woman to do so.

Dame Quentin Alice Louise Bryce: Bryce was the first female GovernorGeneral of Australia.

Although a much more common appellation for boys, Quentin, from Quintus, is a unisex name meaning ‘fifth’ in Latin. Parents looking for a more feminine version of this name may consider Quintana, Quintia, or Quintina. Endearing nicknames include Q, Quent, and Quentie.

Park Geun-hye: South Korea’s first female President

Park is common both as a Korean first name and a surname and is a royal appellation. Park, a nature name that evokes the trending English surname Parker, is uncommon in the U.S. today but was a fairly popular American male name in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Dalia Grybauskaite: Current head of state and the first female President of Lithuania

Dalia is a much-loved Lithuanian appellation meaning ‘destiny’, ‘fate’, and ‘luck’. Dalia, last featured on the U.S. Top 1000 in 2014, contains the popular Alia and Lia. Dahlia, a spelling variation, is a favoured flower name in the US.

Ameenah Gurib: The first and current female President of Mauritius

Ameenah is an elegant Arabic name meaning ‘faithful’ and ‘truthful’. Also spelled Ameena, Amina, and Aminah, this appellation shares its ‘ah’ ending with the popular Delilah, Hannah, Sarah, and Savannah.

Atifete Jahjaga: Kosovo’s first female President

Parents looking for an exceptionally rare name may fancy Atifete, which ends with the French word ‘fête’.

 Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria: Chile’s first and reigning female President and the first woman to be elected Chilean President twice

Verónica, meaning ‘she who brings victory’, is the Latin variation of the name Berenice. According to church lore the appellation has Christian roots –– it is said that Saint Veronica wiped the face of Jesus with her veil. Verónica has many appealing variations including Verona (Italian), Veronika (Czech), and Véronique (French).

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic: The first and incumbent female President of Croatia and the country’s youngest head ever

Kolinda is an extremely rare Croatian moniker related to the name Colinda, meaning ‘girl’. Kolinda shares its lovely ‘linda’ ending with the more familiar appellations Belinda, Melinda, and Rosalinda.

Angela Dorothea Merkel: Current head of state and the first female Chancellor of Germany, Merkel has for a long time been one of the world’s most powerful women.

Pronounced ‘AHNG-ge-lah’ in German, the name Angela means ‘angel’ and has roots in Latin and Greek. Angela is an evergreen name in Italy (58th in 2014), Portugal (99th in 2015), Spain (47th in 2015), and the United States (220th in 2015).

Erna Solberg: Norway’s second female Prime Minister, currently in office

A feminine form of Ernest, the vintage Erna is a short form of Ernesta, Ernestina, and Ernestine and is also spelled Arna. The rise in vintage baby names like Ella, Ada, and Ida makes Erna an offbeat possibility.

Simonetta Sommaruga: The sixth woman to be President of the Swiss Federal Council

Simonetta is the Italian female diminutive version of a Hebrew name meaning ‘hearkening’ or ‘she who listens’, it is popular in Italy as an elaboration of Simona and the trending Simone. The vintage name Etta or even the surname Monet would make for cool nicknames.

Portia Lucretia SimpsonMiller: Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister

Portia has Roman roots and is the name of Shakespeare‘s beautiful and brilliant protagonist in The Merchant of Venice. Portia was also the pen name of Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams and mother of President John Quincy Adams. Portia, fell off the US list in 1990, but is well liked on Nameberry, at #553.

Aminata Touré (shown): Senegal’s second female Prime Minister”.

Aminata, a beloved girls name in Senegal, has African roots and means ‘of good character’. A delicate cousin of the popular Amina, which has been ranked on the U.S. Top 1000 for the last fourteen years.

 Here are some other female leaders who currently hold their nation’s highest office:

Bidhya Devi Bhandari – President of Nepal

Hilda Cathy Heine – President of Marshall Islands

Kersti Kaljulaid – President of Estonia

Theresa May – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

MarieLouise Coleiro Preca – President of Malta

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – President of Liberia

Beata Maria Szyd?o – Prime Minister of Poland

Sheikh Hasina Wazed – Prime Minister of Bangladesh


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