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The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time

Updated April 23, 2020 2.3k votes 166 voters 1.4k views54 items

List RulesVote 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! 

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  • 1
    Catherine II of Russia is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    62
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    Catherine II of Russia

    Dec. at 67 (1729-1796)

    BirthplaceSzczecin, Poland

    Catherine II (Russian: Екатери́на Алексе́евна, romanized: Yekaterina Alekseyevna; 2 May [O.S.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    Cleopatra is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    54
    17

    Cleopatra

    Dec. at 39 (68 BC-29 BC)

    BirthplaceAlexandria, Egypt

    Cleopatra VII Philopator (Koinē Greek: Κλεοπᾰ́τρᾱ Φιλοπάτωρ, romanized: Kleopátrā Philopátōr;... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Joan of Arc is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    43
    11

    Joan of Arc

    Dec. at 19 (1412-1431)

    BirthplaceDomrémy-la-Pucelle, France

    Joan of Arc (in French Jeanne d'Arc pronounced [ʒan daʁk]; c. 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Park Geun-hye is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    49
    17

    BirthplaceJung District, Daegu

    Park Geun-hye (Korean: 박근혜; Hanja: 朴槿惠; RR: Bak Geun(-)hye; IPA: [pak‿k͈ɯn.hje]; born 2... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    Maria Theresa is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    45
    14

    Maria Theresa

    Dec. at 63 (1717-1780)

    BirthplaceHofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria

    Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (German: Maria Theresia; 13 May 1717 – 29 November... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Diana, Princess of Wales is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    60
    33

    Diana, Princess of Wales

    Dec. at 36 (1961-1997)

    BirthplaceSandringham, England

    Diana, Princess of Wales (born Diana Frances Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997), was a... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Hatshepsut is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    37
    11

    Hatshepsut

    Hatshepsut (; also Hatchepsut; Egyptian: ḥꜣt-šps.wt "Foremost of Noble Ladies"; 1507–1458 BC)... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    Queen Victoria is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    38
    14

    Queen Victoria

    Dec. at 82 (1819-1901)

    BirthplaceKensington Palace, London, United Kingdom

    Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Eleanor Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    38
    15

    Eleanor Roosevelt

    Dec. at 78 (1884-1962)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (; October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was an American political... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Eva Perón is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    37
    16

    Eva Perón

    Age: Died at 33 (1919-1952)

    BirthplaceLos Toldos, Argentina

    María Eva Duarte de Perón (UK: , US: , Spanish: [maˈɾi.a ˈeβa ˈðwaɾte ðe peˈɾon]; 7 May 1919 –... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time

    BirthplaceReykjavik, Iceland

    Vigdís Finnbogadóttir (US: FIN-boh-gə-doh-tər, Icelandic: [ˈvɪxtis ˈfɪnpɔɣaˌtouːʰtɪr]... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Annie Besant is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    29
    13

    Annie Besant

    Dec. at 86 (1847-1933)

    BirthplaceClapham, London, United Kingdom

    Annie Besant (née Wood; 1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) was a British socialist,... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Eleanor of Aquitaine is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    29
    13

    Eleanor of Aquitaine

    Dec. at 82 (1122-1204)

    BirthplaceBordeaux, France

    Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 or 1124 – 1 April 1204) was queen consort of France (1137–1152) and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Margaret Thatcher is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    38
    26

    Margaret Thatcher

    Dec. at 88 (1925-2013)

    BirthplaceGrantham, United Kingdom

    Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, (née Roberts; 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013) was... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Indira Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    29
    16

    Indira Gandhi

    Dec. at 67 (1917-1984)

    BirthplaceAllahabad, India

    Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (Hindi: [ˈɪndɪraː ˈɡaːndʱiː] (listen); née Nehru; 19 November 1917... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Mary Robinson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    26
    17

    BirthplaceBallina, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland

    Mary Therese Winifred Robinson (Irish: Máire Bean Mhic Róibín; née Bourke; born 21 May 1944)... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Rani Lakshmibai is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    20
    12

    Rani Lakshmibai

    Dec. at 30 (1828-1858)

    BirthplaceVaranasi, India

    Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi (pronunciation ; 19 November 1828 – 18 June 1858), was the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Harriet Tubman is listed (or ranked) 18 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... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Wangari Maathai is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    19
    12

    Wangari Maathai

    Dec. at 71 (1940-2011)

    BirthplaceTetu, Kenya

    Wangarĩ Muta Maathai (wàŋɡàˈɹɛ |m|ɑː|ˈ|t|aɪ; 1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a renowned... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
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    BirthplaceMayfair, London, London, England

    Elizabeth II (born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    Dalia Grybauskaitė is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time

    BirthplaceVilnius, Lithuania

    Dalia Grybauskaitė (Lithuanian pronunciation: ​[dɐˈlʲɛ ɡʲrʲiːbɐʊsˈkɐ̂ˑɪtʲeː]; born 1 March... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Mother Teresa is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    29
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    Mother Teresa

    Dec. at 87 (1910-1997)

    BirthplaceSkopje, Yugoslavia

    Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Albanian: [aˈɲɛzə ˈɡɔndʒɛ bɔjaˈdʒiu]; 26... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Marie Antoinette is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    19
    15

    Marie Antoinette

    Dec. at 38 (1755-1793)

    BirthplaceVienna, Austria

    Marie Antoinette (, French: [maʁi ɑ̃twanɛt] (listen); born Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna; 2... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    Isabel Martínez de Perón is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    18
    15

    Isabel Martínez de Perón

    Age: 89

    BirthplaceLa Rioja, Argentina

    María Estela Martínez Cartas de Perón (born February 4, 1931), better known as Isabel Martínez... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Mary, Queen of Scots is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Female World Leaders of All Time
    Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1587) was queen regnant of Scotland and queen consort of... more on Wikipedia

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