Feminism The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time  

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554 votes 70 voters 51 items

List Rules Vote up the women leaders who most changed their nations and the world.

Throughout history, there have been many female world leaders who have made a profound impact on the world. From presidents to heads of state to outspoken activists, the women below made a huge impact on history, culture, and the world at large. While all these women have inarguably been influential, who is the most important female world leader of all time? Help decide below! 

Around the world, historic female leaders often took positions of power when it was unconventional and even controversial to do so and altered history as a result. These pioneers paved the way for current powerful female leaders. Without the efforts of groundbreaking women like Eleanor Roosevelt and Madeleine Albright, leaders like Theresa May and Angela Merkel may never have had the opportunities they have today. Vote up the most important female leaders below and feel free to add any influential women you see missing! 

list ordered by

1
20 2
Diana, Princess of Wales is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 36 (1961-1997) Diana, Princess of Wales, was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, who is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II. Diana was born into an aristocratic British family with ...more

2
14 1
Catherine II of Russia is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1729-1796) Yekaterina Alexeevna or Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning from 9 July [O.S. 28 June] 1762 until her ...more

3
19 3
Angela Merkel is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 63 Angela Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany and the head of the political party CDU in Germany. In addition to being the first female German Chanchellor, she is also considered by Forbes ...more

4
16 4
Malala Yousafzai is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 20 Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women in her native ...more

5
13 2
Park Geun-hye is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 66 Park Geun-hye is a former South Korean politician who served as the 18th President of South Korea from 2013 to 2017. Park was the first woman to be President of South Korea and also the first ...more

6
6 0
Wangari Maathai is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 71 (1940-2011) Wangari Muta Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University ...more

7
12 2
Mother Teresa is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 87 (1910-1997) Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, MC, commonly known as Mother Teresa, was a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary who lived most of her life in India. She was born in today's Macedonia, with ...more

8
12 2
Eleanor Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 78 (1884-1962) Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was an American politician, diplomat, and activist. She was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, holding the post from March 1933 to April 1945 during her ...more

9
15 5
Queen Victoria is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 82 (1819-1901) Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the ...more

10
11 2
Margaret Thatcher is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 88 (1925-2013) Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the ...more

11
13 5
Jeanne d' Arc is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 19 (1412-1431) Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans", is considered a heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. She was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle, a peasant family, at ...more

12
14 6
Michelle Obama is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 54 Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is an American lawyer, university administrator, and writer who served as the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is married to the 44th U.S. ...more

13
8 1
Isabel Martínez de Perón is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Isabel Martínez de Perón age 87 María Estela Martínez Cartas de Perón, better known as Isabel Martínez de Perón or Isabel Perón, is a former President of Argentina. She was the third ...more

14
10 3
Eva Perón is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 33 (1919-1952) María Eva Duarte de Perón was the second wife of Argentine President Juan Perón and served as the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. She is usually ...more

15
11 4
Harriet Tubman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Harriet Tubman was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and during the American Civil War, a Union spy. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made about thirteen missions ...more

16
13 6
Hillary Clinton is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 70 Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is an American attorney, politician and member of the Democratic Party. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was First Lady of ...more

17
9 3
Rani Lakshmibai is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 30 (1828-1858) The Rani of Jhansi, also called Lakshmibai, and born as Manikarnika, was the queen of the Maratha-ruled Jhansi State, situated in the north-central part of India. She was one of the leading ...more

18
10 4
Cleopatra is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 39 (68 BC-29 BC) Cleopatra VII Philopator, known to history simply as "Cleopatra", was the last active pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, only shortly survived by her son, Caesarion as pharaoh. Cleopatra was a ...more

19
12 6
Theresa May is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 61 Theresa Mary May PC is a British Conservative politician, and the current UK Home Secretary. May was first elected to Parliament in 1997 as Member of Parliament for Maidenhead. She went on to be ...more

20
6 1
Empress Dowager Cixi is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 73 (1835-1908) Empress Dowager Cixi, of the Manchu Yehenara clan, was the empress dowager of China who effectively controlled the Chinese government for 47 years, from 1861 to her death in 1908. Selected as an ...more

21
6 1
Marie Antoinette is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 38 (1755-1793) Marie Antoinette, born an Archduchess of Austria, was Dauphine of France from 1770 to 1774 and Queen of France and Navarre from 1774 to 1792. She was the fifteenth and penultimate child of Maria ...more

22
6 1
Wu Zetian is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 81 (624-705) Wu Zetian, also known as Wu Zhao or Wu Hou during the Tang dynasty as Tian Hou, and in English as Empress Consort Wu, or by the deprecated term, "Empress Wu", was a Chinese sovereign, ...more

23
7 2
Madeleine Albright is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 80 Madeleine Jana Korbel Albright is a Czechoslovakian-born American politician and diplomat. She is the first woman to have become the United States Secretary of State. She was nominated by U.S. ...more

24
8 3
Indira Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1917-1984) Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the fourth Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party. Gandhi, who served from 1966 to 1977 and then again from 1980 until ...more

25
5 0
Maria Theresa is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Amy Boal added Dec. at 63 (1717-1780) Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only Queen regnant of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, ...more

26
8 3
Mary Robinson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 63 Mary Therese Winifred Robinson served as the seventh, and first female, President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002. She ...more

27
5 0
Annie Besant is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 86 (1847-1933) Annie Besant was a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule. In 1867, Annie at age 20, married Frank ...more

28
5 0
Barbara Bush is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 92 Barbara Pierce Bush is the wife of the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She is the mother of the 43rd ...more

29
10 5
Anne Boleyn is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 35 (1501-1536) Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made ...more

30
6 1
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Moth... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 102 (1900-2002) Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was the wife of King George VI and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. She was Queen consort of the United Kingdom ...more

31
5 0
Dalia Grybauskaitė is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 62 Dalia Grybauskaitė is the President of Lithuania, inaugurated on 12 July 2009 and re-elected in May 2014. She is the country's first female President and the first to be elected for a second ...more

32
6 1
Hatshepsut is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. Hatshepsut came to the throne of Egypt in 1478 BC. Officially, she ruled jointly with Thutmose III who had ascended to the ...more

33
5 0
Eleanor of Aquitaine is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 82 (1122-1204) Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages and a member of the Ramnulfid dynasty of rulers in southwestern France. She ...more

34
8 4
Golda Meir is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 80 (1898-1978) Golda Meir was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik, politician and the fourth Prime Minister of Israel. Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of ...more

35
5 1
Tsai Ing-wen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 61 Tsai Ing-wen is a Taiwanese politician who currently serves as the chair of the Democratic Progressive Party. Tsai previously served as chair from 2008 to 2012, and was the party's presidential ...more

36
5 1
Helena Rubinstein is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Helena Rubinstein Dec. at 95 (1870-1965) Helena Rubinstein was a Polish-born American business magnate. A cosmetics entrepreneur, she was the founder and eponym of Helena Rubinstein, Incorporated, which made her one of the world's ...more

37
4 0
Kim Campbell is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 71 Avril Phædra Douglas "Kim" Campbell PC CC OBC QC is a Canadian politician, lawyer, university professor, diplomat, and writer. She served as the 19th Prime Minister of Canada, ...more

38
4 0
Helle Thorning-Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 51 Helle Thorning-Schmidt is a Danish politician who has been the Prime Minister of Denmark since 3 October 2011, and the Leader of the Social Democrats since 12 April 2005. She is the first woman ...more

39
4 0
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 65 Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner, known as Cristina Kirchner and often referred to by her initials CFK, is the current President of Argentina and widow of former president ...more

40
4 0
Zenobia is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 34 (240-274) Zenobia was a 3rd-century Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria, who led a famous revolt against the Roman Empire. The eighth wife of King Septimius Odaenathus, Zenobia became queen of the ...more

41
10 7
Ivanka Trump is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 36 Ivanka Marie Trump is an American businesswoman, writer, and former model. In her role as Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at The Trump Organization, Trump is involved ...more

42
7 4
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 87 Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is an Icelandic politician who served as the fourth President of Iceland from 1980 to 1996. She is both Iceland's and Europe's first female president. With a ...more

43
5 2
Tarja Halonen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 74 Tarja Kaarina Halonen is a Finnish politician who was the 11th President of Finland, serving from 2000 to 2012. She was the first female head of state in Finland and while she was in office, in ...more

44
5 2
Kathy Calvin is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Kathy Calvin age 68 Kathryn Bushkin Calvin is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2003, following a diverse career in politics, journalism, ...more

45
5 2
Edith Wilson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 89 (1872-1961) Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, second wife of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, was First Lady of the United States from 1915 to 1921. She met the President in March 1915 and they married nine months ...more

46
4 1
Emily Murphy is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 65 (1868-1933) Emily Murphy was a Canadian women's rights activist, jurist, and author. In 1916, she became the first female magistrate in Canada, and in the British Empire. She is best known for her ...more

47
4 1
Margot Wallström is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 63 Margot Elisabeth Wallström is a Swedish politician of the Social Democrats and diplomat. She has been the Minister for Foreign Affairs since 3 October 2014. Wallström previously served ...more

48
4 1
Catherine de' Medici is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 70 (1519-1589) Catherine de' Medici, daughter of Lorenzo II de' Medici and of Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne, was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry ...more

49
4 1
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 79 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (born 29 October 1938) is the 24th and current President of Liberia. She served as Minister of Finance under President William Tolbert from 1979 until the 1980 coup ...more

50
12 13
Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 91 Elizabeth II is the Queen of 16 of the 53 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations. She is Head of the Commonwealth and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Upon her accession on 6 ...more