Year
1969
Month Day
March 17

Golda Meir elected as Israel's first female prime minster

On March 17, 1969, 70-year-old Golda Meir makes history when she is elected as Israel’s first female prime minister. She was the country’s fourth prime minister and is still the only woman to have held this post.

Meir, who was born in Kiev, Ukraine and raised in Wisconsin, began her career as a Zionist labor organizer, and later held several positions in Israeli government, including Minister of Labor and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Upon the sudden death of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in 1969, Meir was chosen as his successor. 

During her tenure, Meir gained a reputation as a savvy diplomat. She saw the country through the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, after Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel. Although Israel was victorious, over 2,500 Israelis died, and many criticized the government for a lack of preparedness.

Due in part to her age and ailing health, Meir resigned in October 1974. She was succeeded by Yitzhak Rabin.

Meir died in Jerusalem on December 8, 1978, at the age of 80. 

READ MORE: 7 Women Leaders Who Were Elected to Highest Office

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

First St. Patrick’s Day parade

The first recorded parade honoring the Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is held in what is now St. Augustine, Florida.  Records show that a St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony under the direction of the colony's ...read more

Saint Patrick dies

On March 17, 461 A.D., Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, dies at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland. Much of what is known about Patrick’s legendary life comes from the Confessio, a book he wrote during his last years. Born in Great Britain, probably in ...read more

Jim Bridger born

Two months before Lewis and Clark begin their epic western expedition, Jim Bridger is born in Richmond, Virginia. Twenty years later, Bridger, heading West along the routes Lewis and Clark pioneered, became one of the greatest mountain men of the 19th century. The son of a ...read more

British evacuate Boston

On March 17, 1776, British forces are forced to evacuate Boston following General George Washington’s successful placement of fortifications and cannons on Dorchester Heights, which overlooks the city from the south. During the evening of March 4, Major General John Thomas, ...read more