List of female defence ministers

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

  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  Ceylon Asia 21 July 1960 25 March 1965 4 years, 247 days
Sirimavo Bandaranaike  Ceylon/ Sri Lanka Asia 29 May 1970 23 July 1977 7 years, 55 days
Indira Gandhi  India Asia 30 November 1975 20 December 1975 20 days
Indira Gandhi  India Asia 14 January 1980 15 January 1982 2 years, 1 day
Dame Eugenia Charles  Dominica North America 1985 1990 5 years, 0 days
Benazir Bhutto  Pakistan Asia 4 December 1988 6 August 1990 1 year, 245 days
Violeta Chamorro  Nicaragua North America 25 April 1990 10 January 1997 6 years, 260 days
Elisabeth Rehn  Finland Europe 13 June 1990 1 January 1995 4 years, 202 days
Khaleda Zia  Bangladesh Asia 27 February 1991 30 March 1996 5 years, 32 days
Kim Campbell  Canada North America 4 January 1993 25 June 1993 172 days
Chandrika Kumaratunga  Sri Lanka Asia 14 November 1994 12 December 2001 7 years, 28 days
Anneli Taina  Finland Europe 13 April 1995 15 April 1999 4 years, 2 days
Sheikh Hasina  Bangladesh Asia 12 June 1996 15 July 2001 5 years, 33 days
Regina Ip  Hong Kong Asia 31 August 1998 25 July 2003 4 years, 328 days
Eldbjørg Løwer  Norway Europe 15 March 1999 10 March 2000 361 days
Joice Mujuru  Zimbabwe Africa 8 June 2001 8 August 2001 61 days
Khaleda Zia  Bangladesh Asia 1 October 2001 29 October 2006 5 years, 28 days
Kristin Krohn Devold  Norway Europe 19 October 2001 17 October 2005 3 years, 363 days
Michelle Bachelet  Chile South America 7 January 2002 1 October 2004 2 years, 268 days
Cynthia Pratt  Bahamas North America 7 May 2002 4 May 2007 4 years, 362 days
Michèle Alliot-Marie  France Europe 7 May 2002 18 May 2007 5 years, 11 days
Željka Antunović  Croatia Europe 30 July 2002 23 December 2003 1 year, 146 days
Marta Lucía Ramírez  Colombia South America 7 August 2002 9 November 2003 1 year, 94 days
Lena Hjelm-Wallén  Sweden Europe 30 September 2002 22 October 2002 22 days
Mame Madior Boye  Senegal Africa 2 October 2002 4 November 2002 33 days
Leni Björklund  Sweden Europe 4 November 2002 6 October 2006 3 years, 336 days
Sylvia Flores  Belize North America 5 March 2003 5 January 2004 306 days
Filomenha Mascarenhas Tipote  Guinea-Bissau Africa 23 April 2003 12 May 2004 1 year, 19 days
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo  Philippines Asia 1 September 2003 2 October 2003 31 days
Azucena Berrutti  Uruguay South America 1 March 2005 3 March 2008 3 years, 2 days
Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen  Norway Europe 17 October 2005 20 October 2009 4 years, 3 days
Nilda Garré  Argentina South America 28 November 2005 15 December 2010 5 years, 17 days
Solvita Āboltiņa  Latvia Europe 23 December 2005 5 January 2006 13 days
Linda Abu Meri  Latvia Europe 5 January 2006 7 April 2006 92 days
Cristina Fontes Lima  Cape Verde Africa 8 March 2006 21 March 2011 5 years, 13 days
Vivianne Blanlot  Chile South America 11 March 2006 27 March 2007 1 year, 16 days
Portia Simpson-Miller  Jamaica North America 30 March 2006 11 September 2007 1 year, 165 days
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo  Philippines Asia 30 November 2006 1 February 2007 63 days
Vlasta Parkanová  Czech Republic Europe 9 January 2007 8 May 2009 119 days
Guadalupe Larriva  Ecuador South America 15 January 2007 24 January 2007 9 days
Lorena Escudero  Ecuador South America 2 February 2007 30 August 2007 209 days
Ruth Tapia Roa  Nicaragua North America 16 May 2007 14 May 2012 4 years, 364 days
Yuriko Koike  Japan Asia 4 July 2007 27 August 2007 54 days
Cécile Manorohanta  Madagascar Africa 27 October 2007 9 February 2009 1 year, 105 days
Carme Chacón  Spain Europe 14 April 2008 20 May 2008 36 days
Elsa Teixeira Pinto  São Tomé and Príncipe Africa 22 June 2008 14 August 2010 2 years, 53 days
Carme Chacón  Spain Europe 30 June 2008 22 December 2011 3 years, 175 days
Ljubica Jelušič  Slovenia Europe 21 November 2008 10 February 2012 3 years, 81 days
Rasa Juknevičienė  Lithuania Europe 9 December 2008 13 December 2012 3 years, 4 days
Sheikh Hasina  Bangladesh Asia 6 January 2009 Incumbent 10 years, 339 days
Lindiwe Sisulu  South Africa Africa 10 May 2009 12 June 2012 3 years, 33 days
Bidhya Devi Bhandari    Nepal Asia 25 May 2009 6 February 2011 1 year, 257 days
Angélique Ngoma  Gabon Africa 17 October 2009 14 January 2011 1 year, 89 days
Grete Faremo  Norway Europe 20 October 2009 11 November 2011 2 years, 22 days
Gitte Lillelund Bech  Denmark Europe 23 February 2010 3 October 2011 1 year, 222 days
Lesego Motsumi  Botswana Africa 30 August 2010 7 February 2011 161 days
María Cecilia Chacón  Bolivia South America 6 April 2011 26 September 2011 173 days
Iveta Radičová  Slovakia Europe 28 November 2011 4 April 2012 128 days
Portia Simpson-Miller  Jamaica North America 5 January 2012 3 March 2016 4 years, 58 days
Milica Pejanović-Đurišić  Montenegro Europe 13 March 2012 28 November 2016 4 years, 260 days
Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd  Sweden Europe 29 March 2012 18 April 2012 20 days
Karin Enström  Sweden Europe 18 April 2012 3 October 2014 2 years, 168 days
Maritza Pastora Membreño Morales  Nicaragua North America 14 May 2012 4 March 2013 294 days
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula  South Africa Africa 12 June 2012 Incumbent 7 years, 182 days
María Liz García de Arnold  Paraguay South America 25 June 2012 15 August 2013 1 year, 51 days
Olusola Obada  Nigeria Africa 22 June 2012 11 September 2013 1 year, 81 days
Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen  Norway Europe 21 September 2012 16 October 2013 1 year, 25 days
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert  Netherlands Europe 5 November 2012 3 October 2017 4 years, 332 days
María Fernanda Espinosa  Ecuador South America 28 November 2012 23 September 2014 1 year, 299 days
Karolína Peake  Czech Republic Europe 12 December 2012 20 December 2012 8 days
Martha Elena Ruiz Sevilla  Nicaragua North America 4 March 2013 Incumbent 6 years, 282 days
Raychelle Omamo  Kenya Africa 15 May 2013 Incumbent 6 years, 210 days
Yingluck Shinawatra  Thailand Asia 30 June 2013 7 May 2014 311 days
Carmen Meléndez  Venezuela South America 5 July 2013 25 October 2014 1 year, 112 days
Mimi Kodheli  Albania Europe 15 September 2013 11 September 2017 3 years, 361 days
Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide  Norway Europe 16 October 2013 20 October 2017 4 years, 4 days
Ursula von der Leyen  Germany Europe 17 December 2013 17 July 2019 5 years, 212 days
Roberta Pinotti  Italy Europe 22 February 2014 1 June 2018 4 years, 99 days
Cadi Mané  Guinea-Bissau Africa 4 July 2014 13 October 2015 1 year, 101 days
Marie-Noëlle Koyara  Central African Republic Africa 17 January 2015 29 October 2015 286 days
Marina Pendeš  Bosnia and Herzegovina Europe 11 February 2015 Incumbent 4 years, 303 days
Tina Khidasheli  Georgia Asia 1 May 2015 30 July 2016 1 year, 90 days
Andreja Katič  Slovenia Europe 13 May 2015 13 September 2018 3 years, 123 days
Marise Payne  Australia Oceania 21 September 2015 26 August 2018 2 years, 339 days
Adiato Djaló Nandigna  Guinea-Bissau Africa 13 October 2015 2 June 2016 233 days
Tomomi Inada  Japan Asia 3 August 2016 28 July 2017 359 days
María Dolores de Cospedal  Spain Europe 4 November 2016 1 June 2018 1 year, 209 days
Sylvie Goulard  France Europe 17 May 2017 19 June 2017 33 days
Radmila Šekerinska  North Macedonia Europe 1 June 2017 Incumbent 2 years, 193 days
Florence Parly  France Europe 21 June 2017 Incumbent 2 years, 173 days
Nirmala Sitharaman  India Asia 3 September 2017 31 May 2019 1 year, 270 days
Olta Xhaçka  Albania Europe 11 September 2017 Incumbent 2 years, 91 days
Marie-Noëlle Koyara  Central African Republic Africa 12 September 2017 Incumbent 2 years, 90 days
Ank Bijleveld  Netherlands Europe 26 October 2017 Incumbent 2 years, 46 days
Karla Šlechtová  Czech Republic Europe 13 December 2017 28 June 2018 197 days
Elisabetta Trenta  Italy Europe 1 June 2018 5 September 2019 1 year, 96 days
Margarita Robles  Spain Europe 7 June 2018 Incumbent 1 year, 187 days
Aisha Mohammed Mussa  Ethiopia Africa 16 October 2018 18 April 2019 184 days
Mariya Ahmed Didi  Maldives Asia 17 November 2018 Incumbent 1 year, 24 days
Viola Amherd   Switzerland Europe 1 January 2019 Incumbent 344 days
Rose Christiane Raponda  Gabon Africa 12 February 2019 Incumbent 302 days
Lanelle Tanangada  Solomon Islands Oceania 25 April 2019 Incumbent 230 days
Penny Mordaunt  United Kingdom Europe 1 May 2019 24 July 2019 84 days
Linda Reynolds  Australia Oceania 29 May 2019 Incumbent 196 days
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer  Germany Europe 17 July 2019 Incumbent 147 days

See also

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