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Theresa May Joins Small but Growing Band of Female World Leaders

FILE - Britain's Home Secretary, Theresa May, leaves after a cabinet meeting in Downing Street in central London, Britain, June 27, 2016.

Theresa May is set to become Britain's second female prime minister on Wednesday when she takes over from David Cameron as head of the ruling Conservative party, joining a small but growing band of female world leaders.

May, 59, is Britain's second women prime minister after Margaret Thatcher, who was in power from 1979 to 1990.

Below is a list of countries which have women as heads of government or elected heads of state, with United Nations data showing about half of these are the first women to hold their country's highest office.

The date in brackets is the year they took office. The list excludes figurehead monarchs.

BANGLADESH: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (2009)

BRAZIL: President Dilma Rousseff (2011)

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza (2014)

CHILE: President Michelle Bachelet (2014)

CROATIA: President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (2015)

GERMANY: Chancellor Angela Merkel (2005)

LIBERIA: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006)

LITHUANIA: President Dalia Grybauskaite (2009)

MALTA: President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca (2014)

MARSHALL ISLANDS: President Hilda Heine (2016)

MAURITIUS: President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (2015)

NAMIBIA: Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila (2015)

NEPAL: President Bidhya Devi Bhandari (2015)

NORWAY: Prime Minister Erna Solberg (2013)

POLAND: Prime Minister Beata Szydlo (2015)

SOUTH KOREA: President Park Geun-hye (2013)

TAIWAN: President Tsai Ing-wen (2016)