As America’s first female Presidential nominee from a major political party, Hillary Clinton has helped pave the way for women in the United States and around the globe. With so much political clout, it’s not surprising that Hillary studied political science during her undergraduate years. Women around the world wield more power now than ever before, but female leadership starts long before the election ballot. Let’s take a look at eight of the world’s most powerful women—and what they studied. And don’t be surprised. Political science degrees abound, but you don’t need to study government to become a world leader. Let’s see what they all have in common?
1. Angela Merkel
The German Chancellor has a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Leipzig. She worked as a chemist at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry, Academy of Sciences from 1978-1990. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, she entered politics. In 2005, she became Germany’s first female Chancellor. In the light of seismic political shifts around the globe, Merkel recently announced that she will run for a fourth term as Chancellor.
2. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
In office since 2006, the Liberian President is the first female leader of Liberia. She is Africa’s first female head of state. In 1971, Sirleaf earned her Master’s in Public Administration at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, after which she became Liberia’s Minister of Finance. In 2011, she shared the Nobel Peace Prize with fellow Liberian Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen. Their work? The non-violent struggle for women’s safety, and women’s rights to full participation in peace-building.
3. Erna Solberg
Norway’s Prime Minister since 2013, Erna Solberg, leader of Norway’s Conservative party studied sociology, political science, statistics, and economy at the University of Bergen. Solberg triumphed over dyslexia, a diagnosis she received at the age of 16, and went on to a successful career in Norwegian politics and government.