On This Day: 20 July

Perhaps era is too strong but the 20 July represents a major moment in history: The first ever female Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike came into office on this day in 1960. She was a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party who triumphed over the United National Party gaining 75 seats out of 150. She took over power from her husband who was shot dead in 1959 by an extremist Buddhist.

Mrs Bandaranaike passed away aged 84 in the year 2000 and her ascension to Prime Minister has paved the way for the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel. Interestingly, her daughter Chandrika Kumaratunge was president of Sri Lanka from 1994 until 2005.