Critics say that Yingluck Shinawatra's only political qualification is that she's the youngest sister of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. It's not an outrageous claim. Yingluck, who studied public administration at Kentucky State University, has spent much of her adult life working at a property business Thaksin founded. But on May 17 she rose to national prominence after the pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai Party selected her as its leader. Just two weeks later, on July 3, her party won 265 of 500 parliamentary seats, and on Aug. 5 the Thai parliament officially confirmed her as Premier. Besides overcoming suggestions that her brother is running the country from exile, Yingluck must now deliver on her populist pledges raising the minimum wage, providing free public wi-fi and giving every schoolchild a tablet PC without ruining the economy. She'll also need to navigate Thailand's prickly relationship with Cambodia, as well as attempt to reconcile the pro-Thaksin Red Shirts and the antigovernment Yellow Shirts, who helped bring down her brother's government.
Top Female Leaders Around the World
On Sept. 15 Helle Thorning-Schmidt led her political alliance to victory in Denmark, paving the way for her to become the country's first female Prime Minister. In honor of female politicians kicking through glass ceilings, TIME takes a look at 13 women who have made it to the top