Iceland was, apparently, just the tip of the iceberg. As the roiling world economy makes voters less patient with corruption and complacency, voters are increasingly turning to super-competent and capable women— even when they’ve never done so before.

In Kuwait, women have had the right to vote and to hold office for only three years; ever since, clerics have warned voters against daring to actually elect them. But this weekend’s election, notes the New York Times, came after the third government standoff in three years. “Each time, lawmakers accused cabinet members of misconduct or corruption, creating a noisy spectacle and cabinet resignations. Sheik Sabah has consistently reappointed as prime minister his nephew, Sheik Nasser al-Muhammad al-Sabah.”

Left three: Stephanie McGehee/Reuters; right, Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP-Getty Images

Many believe that their country, one of the world’s leading oil exporters, has fallen behind its autocratic gulf neighbors Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Some Kuwaitis are eager for public investment and economic reforms, and say the constant parliamentary battles are to blame.

The election of women to the assembly is a separate matter and a source of intense pride for many Kuwaitis. The winners were Rola Dashti, an American-educated economist; Salwa al-Jassar and Aseel al-Awadi, who are both professors; and Massouma al-Mubarak, who in 2005 became the country’s first female cabinet minister.

Meanwhile, another emerging democracy turned to an expert as its economy slumped. Lithuanian voters overwhelmingly elected as president 53-year-old Dalia Grybauskaite, a Lithuanian former finance minister who also happens to be European Union budget commissioner.

Unsurprisingly, Grybauskaite immediately started talking budget cuts, and about getting Lithuania’s currency converted to the super-stable euro; those who object will be facing “a tough-talking former finance minister with a black belt in karate.” We can’t wait till Grybauskaite shows up at the next G-20 meeting, telling the likes of Medvedev and Sarkozy to make her day.

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