List of female defence ministers

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A Ministry of Defence or Defense (see spelling differences), also known as a Department of Defence or Defense, is the common name for a part of the government found in states where the government is divided into ministries or departments, responsible for matters of defence. The title Defence Minister, Minister for Defence, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State for Defence, Secretary of National Defense or some other titles, is assigned to the person in a cabinet position in charge of this particular ministry, which regulates the armed forces in sovereign states. The role of Minister of Defence serves an integral part in a country's military purposes. This role has traditionally been given to men because of the gender-biased nature of the military office. However, recent years have seen the appointment of female Defence Ministers. The following list shows group of women that are/were entitled with the title of Minister of Defence in charge in regulating the armed forces in their respective countries. The first woman ever entitled to this job was the then-Prime Minister of Ceylon, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, back in 1960s.

List[edit]

  Denotes incumbent defence minister
  • Italics denotes an acting defence minister and minister of non-sovereign state
Name Image Country Continent Mandate start Mandate end Term length
Sirimavo Bandaranaike Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranayaka (1916-2000) (Hon.Sirimavo Bandaranaike with Hon.Lalith Athulathmudali Crop).jpg  Ceylon Asia 21 July 1960 25 March 1965 4 years, 247 days
Sirimavo Bandaranaike Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranayaka (1916-2000) (Hon.Sirimavo Bandaranaike with Hon.Lalith Athulathmudali Crop).jpg  Ceylon/ Sri Lanka Asia 29 May 1970 23 July 1977 7 years, 55 days
Indira Gandhi Indira Gandhi 1977.jpg  India Asia 30 November 1975 20 December 1975 20 days
Indira Gandhi Indira Gandhi 1977.jpg  India Asia 14 January 1980 15 January 1982 2 years, 1 day
Dame Eugenia Charles Eugenia Charles.jpg  Dominica North America 1985 1990 5 years, 0 days
Benazir Bhutto Benazir Bhutto.jpg  Pakistan Asia 4 December 1988 6 August 1990 1 year, 245 days
Violeta Chamorro Violeta Chamorro 1993.jpg  Nicaragua North America 25 April 1990 10 January 1997 6 years, 260 days
Elisabeth Rehn Elisabeth Rehn 1993.jpg  Finland Europe 13 June 1990 1 January 1995 4 years, 202 days
Khaleda Zia Khaleda Zia.jpg  Bangladesh Asia 27 February 1991 30 March 1996 5 years, 32 days
Kim Campbell Kim Campbell.jpg  Canada North America 4 January 1993 25 June 1993 172 days
Chandrika Kumaratunga Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.jpg  Sri Lanka Asia 14 November 1994 12 December 2001 7 years, 28 days
Anneli Taina Anneli Taina 1998.jpg  Finland Europe 13 April 1995 15 April 1999 4 years, 2 days
Sheikh Hasina Sheikh Hasina, Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh (cropped).jpg  Bangladesh Asia 12 June 1996 15 July 2001 5 years, 33 days
Regina Ip Regina Ip at VP New Year Fair 2009 cut.jpg  Hong Kong Asia 31 August 1998 25 July 2003 4 years, 328 days
Eldbjørg Løwer Eldbjorg Lower.jpg  Norway Europe 15 March 1999 10 March 2000 361 days
Joice Mujuru Joice Mujuru at Horasis Global Arab Business Meeting 2012 crop.jpg  Zimbabwe Africa 8 June 2001 8 August 2001 61 days
Khaleda Zia Khaleda Zia.jpg  Bangladesh Asia 1 October 2001 29 October 2006 5 years, 28 days
Kristin Krohn Devold Kristin Krohn Devold adm dir NHO Reiseliv.jpg  Norway Europe 19 October 2001 17 October 2005 3 years, 363 days
Michelle Bachelet Portrait Michelle Bachelet.jpg  Chile South America 7 January 2002 1 October 2004 2 years, 268 days
Cynthia Pratt No image.svg  Bahamas North America 7 May 2002 4 May 2007 4 years, 362 days
Michèle Alliot-Marie Michèle Alliot-Marie - Université d'été du MEDEF 2009.jpg  France Europe 7 May 2002 18 May 2007 5 years, 11 days
Željka Antunović 20 obljetnica osnivanja OS RH Zeljka Antunovic 26052011.jpg  Croatia Europe 30 July 2002 23 December 2003 1 year, 146 days
Marta Lucía Ramírez Marta Lucía Ramírez, 2012.jpg  Colombia South America 7 August 2002 9 November 2003 1 year, 94 days
Lena Hjelm-Wallén No image.svg  Sweden Europe 30 September 2002 22 October 2002 22 days
Mame Madior Boye No image.svg  Senegal Africa 2 October 2002 4 November 2002 33 days
Leni Björklund Leni Björklund.jpg  Sweden Europe 4 November 2002 6 October 2006 3 years, 336 days
Sylvia Flores No image.svg  Belize North America 5 March 2003 5 January 2004 306 days
Filomenha Mascarenhas Tipote No image.svg  Guinea-Bissau Africa 23 April 2003 12 May 2004 1 year, 19 days
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Gloria Macapagal Arroyo WEF 2009-crop.jpg  Philippines Asia 1 September 2003 2 October 2003 31 days
Azucena Berrutti Azberruti.jpg  Uruguay South America 1 March 2005 3 March 2008 3 years, 2 days
Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen Strøm-Erichsen.JPG  Norway Europe 17 October 2005 20 October 2009 4 years, 3 days
Nilda Garré Nilda Garré 2011.jpg  Argentina South America 28 November 2005 15 December 2010 5 years, 17 days
Solvita Āboltiņa Solvita Āboltiņa 2011.jpg  Latvia Europe 23 December 2005 5 January 2006 13 days
Linda Abu Meri Flickr - Saeima - 9.Saeimas deputāte Linda Mūrniece.jpg  Latvia Europe 5 January 2006 7 April 2006 92 days
Cristina Fontes Lima No image.svg  Cape Verde Africa 8 March 2006 21 March 2011 5 years, 13 days
Vivianne Blanlot No image.svg  Chile South America 11 March 2006 27 March 2007 1 year, 16 days
Portia Simpson-Miller Portia Miller Shoot.Jpeg  Jamaica North America 30 March 2006 11 September 2007 1 year, 165 days
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Gloria Macapagal Arroyo WEF 2009-crop.jpg  Philippines Asia 30 November 2006 1 February 2007 63 days
Vlasta Parkanová Vlasta Parkanova.jpg  Czech Republic Europe 9 January 2007 8 May 2009 119 days
Guadalupe Larriva No image.svg  Ecuador South America 15 January 2007 24 January 2007 9 days
Lorena Escudero No image.svg  Ecuador South America 2 February 2007 30 August 2007 209 days
Ruth Tapia Roa No image.svg  Nicaragua North America 16 May 2007 14 May 2012 4 years, 364 days
Yuriko Koike Yuriko Koike - World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2008.jpg  Japan Asia 4 July 2007 27 August 2007 54 days
Cécile Manorohanta No image.svg  Madagascar Africa 27 October 2007 9 February 2009 1 year, 105 days
Carme Chacón Carme Chacón at the Pentagon in Washingon, DC, USA (crop).jpg  Spain Europe 14 April 2008 20 May 2008 36 days
Elsa Teixeira Pinto No image.svg  São Tomé and Príncipe Africa 22 June 2008 14 August 2010 2 years, 53 days
Carme Chacón Carme Chacón at the Pentagon in Washingon, DC, USA (crop).jpg  Spain Europe 30 June 2008 22 December 2011 3 years, 175 days
Ljubica Jelušič Jelusic Ljubica.jpg  Slovenia Europe 21 November 2008 10 February 2012 3 years, 81 days
Rasa Juknevičienė Rasa Juknevičienė.jpg  Lithuania Europe 9 December 2008 13 December 2012 3 years, 4 days
Sheikh Hasina Sheikh Hasina, Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh (cropped).jpg  Bangladesh Asia 6 January 2009 Incumbent 11 years, 45 days
Lindiwe Sisulu Lindiwe Sisulu, ABr 1200EF12909099127, detail.jpg  South Africa Africa 10 May 2009 12 June 2012 3 years, 33 days
Bidhya Devi Bhandari Vidhya Bhandari2.JPG    Nepal Asia 25 May 2009 6 February 2011 1 year, 257 days
Angélique Ngoma No image.svg  Gabon Africa 17 October 2009 14 January 2011 1 year, 89 days
Grete Faremo Norges forsvarsminister Grete Faremo vid Nordiska Radets session i Reykjavik. 2010-11-03.jpg  Norway Europe 20 October 2009 11 November 2011 2 years, 22 days
Gitte Lillelund Bech Gitte-Lillelund-Bech 2010 03-04.jpg  Denmark Europe 23 February 2010 3 October 2011 1 year, 222 days
Lesego Motsumi No image.svg  Botswana Africa 30 August 2010 7 February 2011 161 days
María Cecilia Chacón No image.svg  Bolivia South America 6 April 2011 26 September 2011 173 days
Iveta Radičová Iveta Radičová (jan. 2012).jpg  Slovakia Europe 28 November 2011 4 April 2012 128 days
Portia Simpson-Miller Portia Miller Shoot.Jpeg  Jamaica North America 5 January 2012 3 March 2016 4 years, 58 days
Milica Pejanović-Đurišić Milica Pejanović-Đurišić 2015.jpg  Montenegro Europe 13 March 2012 28 November 2016 4 years, 260 days
Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd Catharina-Elmsäter-Svärd B.jpg  Sweden Europe 29 March 2012 18 April 2012 20 days
Karin Enström Karin Enström.jpg  Sweden Europe 18 April 2012 3 October 2014 2 years, 168 days
Maritza Pastora Membreño Morales No image.svg  Nicaragua North America 14 May 2012 4 March 2013 294 days
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula Panetta and Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (cropped).jpg  South Africa Africa 12 June 2012 Incumbent 7 years, 253 days
María Liz García de Arnold No image.svg  Paraguay South America 25 June 2012 15 August 2013 1 year, 51 days
Olusola Obada No image.svg  Nigeria Africa 22 June 2012 11 September 2013 1 year, 81 days
Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen Strøm-Erichsen.JPG  Norway Europe 21 September 2012 16 October 2013 1 year, 25 days
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert 2015 (1).jpg  Netherlands Europe 5 November 2012 3 October 2017 4 years, 332 days
María Fernanda Espinosa María Fernanda Espinosa en 2014.jpg  Ecuador South America 28 November 2012 23 September 2014 1 year, 299 days
Karolína Peake Karolína Peake.jpg  Czech Republic Europe 12 December 2012 20 December 2012 8 days
Martha Elena Ruiz Sevilla No image.svg  Nicaragua North America 4 March 2013 Incumbent 6 years, 353 days
Raychelle Omamo No image.svg  Kenya Africa 15 May 2013 Incumbent 6 years, 281 days
Yingluck Shinawatra 9153ri-Yingluck Shinawatra.jpg  Thailand Asia 30 June 2013 7 May 2014 311 days
Carmen Meléndez Carmen Melendez Teresa Rivas.jpg  Venezuela South America 5 July 2013 25 October 2014 1 year, 112 days
Mimi Kodheli Mimi Kodheli (cropped).jpg  Albania Europe 15 September 2013 11 September 2017 3 years, 361 days
Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide 20090830-2.JPG  Norway Europe 16 October 2013 20 October 2017 4 years, 4 days
Ursula von der Leyen Ursula von der Leyen at NATO in Belgium - 2017 (38215863566) (cropped).jpg  Germany Europe 17 December 2013 17 July 2019 5 years, 212 days
Roberta Pinotti Roberta Pinotti 2017.jpg  Italy Europe 22 February 2014 1 June 2018 4 years, 99 days
Cadi Mané No image.svg  Guinea-Bissau Africa 4 July 2014 13 October 2015 1 year, 101 days
Marie-Noëlle Koyara Marie-Noëlle Koyara.jpg  Central African Republic Africa 17 January 2015 29 October 2015 286 days
Marina Pendeš Marina-Pendes-2016.jpg  Bosnia and Herzegovina Europe 11 February 2015 Incumbent 5 years, 9 days
Tina Khidasheli Khidasheli visiting Pentagon (cropped).jpg  Georgia Asia 1 May 2015 30 July 2016 1 year, 90 days
Andreja Katič Ministrica za obrambo Andreja Katič prevzela posle na Ministrstvu za obrambo 5 (cropped).jpg  Slovenia Europe 13 May 2015 13 September 2018 3 years, 123 days
Marise Payne Marise Payne October 2015.jpg  Australia Oceania 21 September 2015 26 August 2018 2 years, 339 days
Adiato Djaló Nandigna No image.svg  Guinea-Bissau Africa 13 October 2015 2 June 2016 233 days
Tomomi Inada Tomomi Inada 2017.jpg  Japan Asia 3 August 2016 28 July 2017 359 days
María Dolores de Cospedal María Dolores de Cospedal.jpg  Spain Europe 4 November 2016 1 June 2018 1 year, 209 days
Sylvie Goulard Sylvie Goulard 2013.JPG  France Europe 17 May 2017 19 June 2017 33 days
Radmila Šekerinska Radmila Šekerinska - 2018 (40930351855) (cropped).jpg  North Macedonia Europe 1 June 2017 Incumbent 2 years, 264 days
Florence Parly Florence Parly 2017 (cropped).jpg  France Europe 21 June 2017 Incumbent 2 years, 244 days
Nirmala Sitharaman Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi - 2017 (36624276764) (cropped).jpg  India Asia 3 September 2017 31 May 2019 1 year, 270 days
Olta Xhaçka Olta Xhaçka in 2018.jpg  Albania Europe 11 September 2017 Incumbent 2 years, 162 days
Marie-Noëlle Koyara Marie-Noëlle Koyara.jpg  Central African Republic Africa 12 September 2017 Incumbent 2 years, 161 days
Ank Bijleveld Ank Bijleveld 2018 (1).jpg  Netherlands Europe 26 October 2017 Incumbent 2 years, 117 days
Karla Šlechtová Šlechtová Karla 2018.jpg  Czech Republic Europe 13 December 2017 28 June 2018 197 days
Elisabetta Trenta ElisabettaTrenta (cropped).jpg  Italy Europe 1 June 2018 5 September 2019 1 year, 96 days
Margarita Robles Margarita Robles 2018 (cropped).jpg  Spain Europe 7 June 2018 Incumbent 1 year, 258 days
Aisha Mohammed Mussa No image.svg  Ethiopia Africa 16 October 2018 18 April 2019 184 days
Mariya Ahmed Didi No image.svg  Maldives Asia 17 November 2018 Incumbent 1 year, 95 days
Viola Amherd Viola Amherd (2018).jpg   Switzerland Europe 1 January 2019 Incumbent 1 year, 50 days
Rose Christiane Raponda No image.svg  Gabon Africa 12 February 2019 Incumbent 1 year, 8 days
Lanelle Tanangada No image.svg  Solomon Islands Oceania 25 April 2019 Incumbent 301 days
Penny Mordaunt Official portrait of Penny Mordaunt crop 2.jpg  United Kingdom Europe 1 May 2019 24 July 2019 84 days
Linda Reynolds Senator Linda Reynolds.png  Australia Oceania 29 May 2019 Incumbent 267 days
Trine Bramsen Trine Bramsen.jpg  Denmark Europe 27 June 2019 Incumbent 238 days
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer 2016 (cropped).jpg  Germany Europe 17 July 2019 Incumbent 218 days
Klaudia Tanner WahlNÖ2013 Klaudia Tanner 5209.jpg  Austria Europe 7 January 2020 Incumbent 44 days
Zeina Akar  Lebanon Asia 22 January 2020 Incumbent 29 days

See also[edit]

External links[edit]