World Leaders

The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time  

Ranker News
1.5k votes 146 voters 1.1k views 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
Catherine II of Russia ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1729-1796)
Catherine II (Russian: Екатери́на Алексе́евна, romanized: Yekaterina Alekseyevna; 2 May [O.S. 21 April] 1729 – 17 November [O.S. 6 November] 1796), also known as Catherine the Great (Екатери́на ...more

More Catherine II of Russia

#1,672 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #23 of 23 The Weirdest Royals Throughout History #142 of 322 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

2
Maria Theresa is listed (or ranked) 2 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 (German: Maria Theresia; 13 May 1717 – 29 November 1780) was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She ...more
3
Cleopatra is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 39 (68 BC-29 BC)
Cleopatra VII Philopator (Koinē Greek: Κλεοπᾰ́τρᾱ Φιλοπάτωρ, romanized: Kleopátrā Philopátōr; 69 – 10 or 12 August 30 BC) was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of ...more

More Cleopatra

#214 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #81 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Timefeaturing 14 Fascinating Facts About Cleopatra, the Last Queen of Egypt

4
Joan of Arc is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 19 (1412-1431)
Joan of Arc (in French Jeanne d'Arc pronounced [ʒan daʁk]; c. 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" (French: La Pucelle d'Orléans), is considered a heroine ...more

More Joan of Arc

#76 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #79 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Timelisted on Famous Left Handed People

5
Hatshepsut is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut (; also Hatchepsut; Egyptian: ḥꜣt-šps.wt "Foremost of Noble Ladies"; 1507–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. She was the second ...more
6
Diana, Princess of Wales... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 36 (1961-1997)
Diana, Princess of Wales (born Diana Frances Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997), was a member of the British royal family. She was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the mother ...more

More Diana, Princess of Wales

#19 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #9 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alivefeaturing Prince Charles And Princess Diana's 'Fairytale Romance' Was Less Lovely Than It Looked

7
Queen Victoria is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 82 (1819-1901)
Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the ...more

More Queen Victoria

#87 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #279 of 475 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Personfeaturing The Morbidly Creepy And Straight Up Weird Contents Of Queen Victoria's Coffin

8
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 (; October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was an American political figure, diplomat and activist. She served as the First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1933 to ...more

More Eleanor Roosevelt

#780 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Timefeaturing What Was Franklin And Eleanor Roosevelt's Relationship Really Like?listed on People On Stamps: List Of People On US Postage

9
Eva Perón is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 33 (1919-1952)
María Eva Duarte de Perón (UK: , US: , Spanish: [maˈɾi.a ˈeβa ˈðwaɾte ðe peˈɾon]; 7 May 1919 – 26 July 1952) was the wife of Argentine President Juan Perón ...more

More Eva Perón

#421 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #563 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time #56 of 322 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

10
Annie Besant is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 86 (1847-1933)
Annie Besant (née Wood; 1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) was a British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer, orator, educationist, and philanthropist. Regarded as a ...more
11
Eleanor of Aquitaine is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 82 (1122-1204)
Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 or 1124 – 1 April 1204) was queen consort of France (1137–1152) and England (1154–1189) and duchess of Aquitaine in her own right (1137–1204). As a member of the ...more

More Eleanor of Aquitaine

#802 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #5 of 22 Historical Figures You Would Swipe Right Onfeaturing 16 Facts That Prove Eleanor of Aquitaine Was Not to Be Messed With

12
Indira Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1917-1984)
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (Hindi: [ˈɪndɪraː ˈɡaːndʱiː] (listen); née Nehru; 19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) was an Indian politician, stateswoman and a central figure of the Indian ...more

More Indira Gandhi

#816 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #760 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #935 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time

13
Wangari Maathai is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 71 (1940-2011)
Wangarĩ Muta Maathai (wàŋɡàˈɹɛ |m|ɑː|ˈ|t|aɪ; 1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a renowned Kenyan social, environmental and political activist and the first African woman to win ...more

More Wangari Maathai

#1,973 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #418 of 1,245 Every Person Who Has Been Immortalized in a Google Doodle #13 of 18 List of Ecofeminists

14
Park Geun-hye is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 67
Park Geun-hye (Korean: 박근혜; Hanja: 朴槿惠; RR: Bak Geun(-)hye; IPA: [pak‿k͈ɯn.hje]; born 2 February 1952) is a former South Korean politician who served as President of South Korea from 2013 to ...more

More Park Geun-hye

#129 of 267 The Most Powerful Women Of All Time #10 of 18 Female Presidents Currently in Office

15
Rani Lakshmibai is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 30 (1828-1858)
Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi (pronunciation ; 19 November 1828 – 18 June 1858), was the queen of the princely state of Jhansi in North India currently present in Jhansi district in Uttar ...more

More Rani Lakshmibai

#15 of 241 Freedom Fighters of India #13 of 14 The Most Ruthless Queens And Female Rulers Of All Time #2 of 12 The Greatest Warrior Queens In History

16
Dalia Grybauskaitė is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 62
Dalia Grybauskaitė (Lithuanian pronunciation: ​[dɐˈlʲɛ ɡʲrʲiːbɐʊsˈkɐ̂ˑɪtʲeː]; born 1 March 1956) is a Lithuanian politician who served as the eighth President of Lithuania from 2009 until 2019. ...more

More Dalia Grybauskaitė

#59 of 267 The Most Powerful Women Of All Time #8 of 18 Female Presidents Currently in Office

17
Malala Yousafzai is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 21
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

More Malala Yousafzai

#472 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #13 of 322 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models #18 of 267 The Most Powerful Women Of All Time

18
Margaret Thatcher is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 88 (1925-2013)
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, (née Roberts; 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013) was a British stateswoman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 ...more

More Margaret Thatcher

#436 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #153 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Timelisted on Tony Robbins' Celebrity Clients

19
Isabel Martínez d... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Isabel Martínez de Perón age 88
María Estela Martínez Cartas de Perón (born February 4, 1931), better known as Isabel Martínez de Perón (Spanish pronunciation: [isaˈβel maɾˈtines]) or Isabel ...more
20
Zenobia is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 34 (240-274)
Septimia Zenobia (Palmyrene: (Btzby), pronounced Bat-Zabbai; c. 240 – c. 274 AD) was a third century queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria. Many legends surround her ancestry; she was probably ...more
21
Vigdís Finnbogad&... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
age 88
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir (US: FIN-boh-gə-doh-tər, Icelandic: [ˈvɪxtis ˈfɪnpɔɣaˌtouːʰtɪr] (listen); born 15 April 1930) served as the fourth President of Iceland from 1 August 1980 to ...more
22
Harriet Tubman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross, c. March 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen ...more

More Harriet Tubman

#151 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alivefeaturing 17 Things You Didn't Know About Harriet Tubmanlisted on People On Stamps: List Of People On US Postage

23
Wu Zetian is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 81 (624-705)
Wu Zetian (17 February 624 – 16 December 705), alternatively named Wu Zhao, Wu Hou (Empress Wu), during the later Tang dynasty as Tian Hou, in English as Empress Consort Wu, was a Chinese ...more

More Wu Zetian

#1,095 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time #3 of 14 The Most Ruthless Queens And Female Rulers Of All Time #295 of 380 The Most Important Leaders In World History

24
Catherine de' Medici is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 70 (1519-1589)
Catherine de' Medici (Italian: Caterina de Medici, pronounced [kateˈriːna de ˈmɛːditʃi]; French: Catherine de Médicis, pronounced [katʁin də medisis]; 13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589), ...more

More Catherine de' Medici

#641 of 2,834 The Most Influential People of All Time #277 of 322 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models #144 of 267 The Most Powerful Women Of All Time

25
Empress Dowager Cixi is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
Dec. at 73 (1835-1908)
Empress Dowager Cixi (Chinese: 慈禧太后; pinyin: Cíxǐ Tàihòu; [tsʰɨ̌.ɕì tʰâi.xôu]; Manchu: Tsysi taiheo; 29 November 1835 – 15 November 1908), of the Manchu ...more