On this date in 1964, Nyasaland became independent of the United Kingdom (Britain). The first order of business was changing the name of the country to Malawi.
Even though Malawi is a really small, landlocked nation with little economic development, low life expectancy, and high infant mortality, it beat the U.S. in having a woman president. Joyce Banda became president in April of this year, following the sudden heart attack and death of the elected president, Bingu wa Mutharika.
Some other nations that have beat the U.S. in having female heads-of-state include Argentina, India, Israel, Great Britain, Iceland, Philippines, Germany, Nicaragua, Ireland, Iceland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Burundi, Liberia, Chile—and, well, the list goes on and on. Even Muslim-majority nations such as Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have elected women leaders into the top spots (president or prime minister). As a matter of fact, it's easy to find examples of nations that have or have had female presidents (or prime ministers)--what's not so easy is finding a nation that has never had a female in the top governmental position. After a lot of digging, I've discovered three examples of nations that have never had a woman as a leader: the U.S., Japan, and Italy.
Hopefully that will have changed within the next few decades!
Also on this date: