Sri Lankan (Ceylonese) prime minister (1960-5, 1970-77, 1994-2000), born in Ratnapura, S Sri Lanka. Following the assassination of her husband, S W R D Bandaranaike, in 1959, she became leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, won the Ceylon general election (1960), and became the world’s first woman prime minister.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike (born 1916) became the first woman prime minister in the world when she was chosen to head the Sri Lankan Freedom Party government in 1960, following the assassination of her husband. She pursued policies of nonalignment abroad and democratic socialism at home.
She held the position for a second time following independence, and again in 1994. Her daughter, Chandrika Kumaratunge became president of Sri Lanka, having previously been prime minister for a few months.