Gillard (left) had been Deputy Prime Minister since 2007 (prior IntLawGrrls post). On September 29, 1961, she was born into a working-class family in Wales. The family immigrated when she was 4. Gillard earned her law degree from the University of Melbourne, and practiced law before becoming Chief of Staff to the opposition leader in Parliament in 1995. Three years later, she herself was elected, and has served in Parliament ever since. (credit for photo by Rebecca Hallas)
Gillard's selection Wednesday as the new Prime Minister brought tears to the eyes of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, who lost a struggle to retain leadership of the Labor Party to which both belong. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that "Mr Rudd had decided to fight to the death after refusing to step aside last night for Ms Gillard."
A partial list of women heads of government or state to which Gillard now belongs:
Can you name others?
Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Doris Leuthard of Switzerland, Pratibha Patil of India, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina and Kyrgyzstan's interim government leader Roza Otunbayeva.