From Thatcher to May: What's changed for women in the last 37 years?

Updated 7:59 AM ET, Wed July 13, 2016

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(CNN)Margaret Thatcher became the United Kingdom's first female prime minister in 1979; Theresa May now becomes its second. Some things are still the same 37 years later. (Queen Elizabeth still rules the roost in Buckingham Palace, for example.) But here's what has changed for women worldwide between 1979 and now:

ONLY A FEW COUNTRIES HAVE FEMALE LEADERS

Thatcher was one of only two elected women running a country when she became prime minister in 1979. There had been others before her elsewhere in the world -- Indira Gandhi of India and Golda Meir in Israel, for example -- and there have been dozens since. But even now, a very small number of countries have women in charge.

... BUT THE NUMBER OF FEMALE LAWMAKERS IS RISING

There were so few women in parliaments in 1979 that the Inter-Parliamentary Union doesn't even have statistics going back that far. But since they started tracking the information in 1997, the number of female lawmakers has risen from about one in 10 worldwide to just over one in five.

... AND WOMEN CAN VOTE EVERYWHERE

This may sound crazy today, but in 1979 several countries didn't allow women to vote. That includes Lichtenstein, the last country in Europe to grant women suffrage (they came around in 1984). Saudi Arabia was last country in the world to grant women the right to vote, in 2015.

WOMEN ARE MORE IN CONTROL OF THEIR LIVES

The average number of births per women worldwide has fallen steadily for decades. Experts use that statistic as a rough guide for how much control women have over their own lives. The fewer children a woman has, the greater control she is probably exercising. The U.N. says lower birth rates help women get out of poverty.