Top Women in Politics Four Times Less Likely to Have Children

most powerful women

Are the world's most powerful women forced to choose between children and their career?

Our latest report has revealed whether or not the world’s most powerful women must sacrifice having children to get ahead in their careers.

The study, which investigated the lives of the top 50 female leaders in business and politics, revealed that female politicians are four times less likely to have children than average women.


women in politics

Regional Diversity: Where Do the World's Most Powerful Women Come From?


While most of the world’s most successful businesswomen have children, top female politicians are considerably less likely to have kids. Female political leaders are actually far below the average for any profession, with almost half having no children at all.

The trend of childless female politicians is most prominent in Europe and the U.S., where more than half of the women in our lineup are childless.

women in politics

Although some women may simply not want children, or are unable to have them, the disparity between careers in politics and the national average suggests that sacrifices are being made in order to reach the top of the political ladder.

Intense public scrutiny, combined with long working hours and a modest salary, may explain why female politicians are opting out of having children.

Swiss President, Doris Leuthard, recently told the Swiss news site SWI that her choice of career meant that she “just couldn’t have children.”

“One day I will miss having grandchildren,” Leuthard added.

Regrettably, it seems that the expectations placed on politicians has drove the feeling among women that they can't balance children and a high flying political career.

The Top 10

Most Powerful Women in Business & Politics

The women featured on our list were chosen because they have achieved extraordinary things in the corporate and political worlds in 2017.

They exert unparalleled influence in two of the most competitive corporate arenas, making them the most powerful women in the world today.

1 & 2. Angela Merkel and Zhou Qunfei

women in politics

3 & 4. Theresa May and Marian Ilitch

women in politics

5 & 6. Tsai Ing-Wen and Diane Hendricks

women in politics

7 & 8. Doris Leuthard and Chan Laiwa

women in politics

9 & 10. Nicola Sturgeon and Denise Coates

women in politics

The Complete List

Ranked in no particular order. Sorted by number of children.

Person

No of Children

Source of

Notoriety

Age

Country of Citizenship

1

Zhang Xiaojuan

0

Business, Logistics

47

China

2

Zhao Yan

0

Business, Real Estate, Finance

50

China

3

Wu Yajun

0

Business, Real Estate

53

China

4

Lam Wai Ying

0

Business, Smartphone Screens

N/A

Hong Kong

5

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

0

Business, Biotech

64

India

6

Hedda im Brahm Droege

0

Business, Consulting

62

Germany

7

Oprah Winfrey

0

Business, TV

63

United States

8

Park Geun-hye

0

Politics, South Korean Politician

65

South Korea

9

Tsai Ing-wen

0

Politics, President of Taiwan

61

Taiwan

10

Angela Merkel

0

Politics, Chancellor of Germany

63

Germany

11

Dalia Grybauskaite

0

Politics, President of Lithuania

61

Lithuania

12

Nicola Sturgeon

0

Politics, First Minister of Scotland

47

United Kingdom

13

Theresa May

0

Politics, U.K. Prime Minister

60

United Kingdom

14

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi

0

Politics, U.A.E. Minister of State for Tolerance

55

U.A.E.

15

Elena Kagan

0

Politics, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

57

United States

16

Doris Leuthard

0

Politics, President of Switzerland

54

Europe

17

Sonia Sotomayor

0

Politics, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

63

United States

18

Lei Jufang

1

Business, Pharmaceuticals

64

China

19

Pollyanna Chu

1

Business, Financial Services

59

Hong Kong

20

Peng Liyuan

1

Politics, First Lady of China

54

China

21

Hilary Clinton

1

Politics, American Politician

69

United States

22

Janet Yellen

1

Politics, Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve

71

United States

23

Mary Jo White

1

Politics, Chair of the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission

69

United States

24

Zhang Xin

2

Business, Real Estate

51

China

25

Zhou Qunfei

2

Business, Smartphone Screens

47

Hong Kong

26

Rita Tong Liu

2

Business, Real Estate

68

Hong Kong

27

Rafaela Aponte

2

Business, Shipping

77

Switzerland

28

Cristina Green

2

Business, Topshop, Retail

68

United Kingdom

29

Meg Whitman

2

Business, Ebay

61

United States

30

Johnelle Hunt

2

Business, Trucking

85

United States

31

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

2

Politics, President of Mauritius

57

Mauritius

32

Sheikh Hasina Wajed

2

Politics, Prime Minister of Bangladesh

69

Bangladesh

33

Sonia Ghandi

2

Politics, President of the Indian National Congress

70

India

34

Aung San Suu Kyi

2

Politics, State Counselor of Myanmar

72

Myanmar

35

Bidhya Bhandari

2

Politics, President of Nepal

56

Nepal

36

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

2

Politics, President of Croatia

49

Croatia

37

Erna Solberg

2

Politics, Prime Minister of Norway

56

Norway

38

Elvira Nabiullina

2

Politics, Head of Russian Central Bank

53

Russia

39

Marine Le Pen

3

Politics, President of National Front

49

France

40

Chan Laiwa

3

Business, Real Estate

76

China

41

Judy Faulkner

3

Business, Health IT

74

United States

42

Doris Fisher

3

Business, Gap

85

United States

43

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

3

Politics, President of Liberia

78

Liberia

44

Michelle Bachelet

3

Politics, President of Chile

65

Chile

45

Giuliana Benetton

4

Business, Fashion Retail, Investments

80

Italy

46

Judy Love

4

Business, Retail, Gas Stations

80

United States

47

Denise Coates

5

Business, Online Gambling

49

United Kingdom

48

Lynda Resnick

5

Business, Agriculture

74

United States

49

Diane Hendricks

7

Business, Roofing

70

United States

50

Marian Ilitch

7

Business, Pizza, Sports Team

84

United States

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