Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike, widow of Ceylon's assassinated prime minister Solomon Bandaranaike, became the world's first woman prime minister on this day in 1960, known for her emotional election campaign in which she became known as the "weeping widow". 

Following the death of her husband in 1959, after he was shot by an extremist Buddhist, Sirimavo took the helm of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, vowing to continue her husband's socialist policies and winning the 1960 general election with 75 of 150 seats in the Ceylon parliament. 

In power for five years, she lost the 1965 election after making some unpopular decisions while in power, such as moving to make Sinhalese the language of government, angering minority Tamils, and forming an alliance with Trotskyites. 

She returned to power in 1970 and oversaw the transition of Ceylon to a republic and its renaming as Sri Lanka in 1972. Again, forced from government in 1980, this time for misuse of power, she returned as Prime Minister one final time in 1994, when her daughter was elected President, in what had now become a largely ceremonial role.

Her ascension to the head of government  inspired many other women around the world to seek office, such as Indira Gandhi in 1966, Golda Meir in 1969, Margaret Thatcher in 1979, and Benazir Bhutto in 1988, to name a few. Today, the world has 20 elected heads of state or government in office, showing the slow progress that has been made over the last 58 years.

Look out for the next edition of Overseasdue out in September, whose theme is women, to celebrate the centenary of women gaining the vote for the first time in the UK. Features will include those looking at the role women have played in the success of ROSL throughout its history, the questionable impact of social media on calling out gender inequality in society, and the fight women of the Commonwealth face in reaching leadership roles. 

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