Joyce Banda was sworn in as Malawi’s first female president, assuming control after the death of former President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Banda becomes the first female president in southern Africa, and has promised to “defend and preserve the constitution” as well as the people of Malawi.

Banda was the country’s vice-president (elected in 2009), but was very critical of former President Mutharika and had joined the opposition party. After his death on Thursday, many wondered if President Banda would assume control of the nation or if her rule would be usurped by his brother, Malawi’s Foreign Minister, Peter Mutharika. Foreign Minister Mutharika initially said that Banda could not be Malawi’s president because she joined the opposition party, but the UK, US, and EU urged Malawi to respect its constitution and inaugurate Mrs. Banda as president.

During her swearing-in ceremony, President Banda told her countrymen, “It is with a great sense of humility and honour that I accept the huge responsibility of that the people of Malawi have entrusted me with,” and told her constituents that they must now focus their efforts on burying their deceased former president.

With President Banda now at the helm in Malawi, she becomes the 18th woman to head a nation across the would. From Jamaica and Germany, to India and Brazil, women are making political headways and are leading some of our world’s most influential nations.

But is America Next?

Do you think we will have a female president of the United States soon? 

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