United Kingdom’s first female Prime Minister and also the longest serving Prime Minister in the 20th century, Margaret Thatcher served three consecutive terms in the office from 1979 till 1990. Her political views and leadership approach, known as Thatcherism, got her the nickname of Iron Lady. Though controversial, she prominently ranks high in the list of the best British Prime Ministers.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese politician and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. She is credited with co-founding the National League for Democracy, which eventually ended the rule of Myanmar's military junta. In 1999, she was named one of the Children of Gandhi by Time magazine for enduring almost 15 years of house arrest for the greater good of Myanmar.
Mary, Queen of Scots was the ruler of Scotland till 24 July 1567. After an uprising against her, Mary sought protection from her first cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. However, the Queen perceived her as a threat and kept Mary in confinement for eighteen and a half years. Ultimately Mary was beheaded for plotting to assassinate the Queen.
Feminist and civil rights icon Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the longest-serving U.S First Lady. She was a prominent human rights activist, wrote columns, and hosted a radio show. She was named to Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century in 1999.
Remembered for her heroics against the British, the Indian Joan of Arc Rani Lakshmibai remains an icon of the 1857 Indian Rebellion. The wife of Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, she is known for leading the fight against the British after her husband’s death. She also inspired the legendary lines Khoob Ladi Mardani.
Jacinda Ardern is the current Prime Minister of New Zealand. In October 2017, at the age of 37, she became the world's youngest female head of government. Ardern was praised for the way she led her country after the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019 and handled the COVID 19 pandemic. She led her party to victory in 2020 general elections.
The 66th United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made history in 2005 when she became the first female black Secretary of State. She is also the first female to serve as National Security Advisor, a position which she served from 2001 to 2005. One of the most powerful women in the world at one point of time, she has been depicted in Hollywood films.
A war veteran who lost both her legs during the Iraq War, Tammy Duckworth is a symbol of courage and resilience. Her never-say-die spirit enabled her to become the first woman with a disability and the first Thai-American woman to earn a seat in Congress. She is the first member of Senate to give birth while in office.
Liberian politician, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, served as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018. She was the first elected female head of state in Africa. An alumnus of the Harvard University, she began her political career in the 1970s and rose through the ranks with time. She is the recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
Queen Rania of Jordan is the current queen consort of Jordan. Since her marriage to Abdullah II of Jordan, Rania has focused on improving education and health in Jordan. In 2005, Queen Rania joined hands with the Ministry of Education to launch the Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education, an annual teachers’ award.
12 Kristi Noem
Linda McMahon is an American political executive and former professional wrestling executive. She is credited with co-founding Titan Sports, Inc., which is now called as WWE, Inc., along with her husband Vince McMahon. She then left WWE to focus on her political career; from 2017 to 2019, she served as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration under Trump’s presidency.
Nicola Sturgeon is a Scottish politician. Since 2014, Sturgeon has been serving as the leader of the Scottish National Party and first minister of Scotland. Being the first woman to serve in these positions, Nicola Sturgeon is seen as a major inspiration to women across Scotland.
A courageous political leader, Shirley Chisholm made history when she became the first African-American woman to be elected the United States Congresswoman. Later, she yet again created history when she—though unsuccessfullyVran for Democratic Party's presidential nomination to contest for US presidency. Throughout her career, she advocated racial equality and women empowerment. As an author, she penned two books.
17 Theresa May
Theresa May is a British politician who became the United Kingdom's second female prime minister. She served as prime minister from 2016 to 2019. During her prime ministership, May's involvement in the Brexit negotiations gave rise to the Brexit withdrawal agreement. She is also credited with co-founding Women2Win, which promotes women empowerment.
Imelda Marcos is a retired Filipino politician with a controversial history. She became the First Lady of the Philippines in 1965 when her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, became President of the nation. Her family stole billions of dollars from the country’s citizens and lived lavishly. The Marcoses were unseated during the People Power Revolution in February 1986.
Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I, ruled as the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt and was the second female pharaoh, according to records. She was the chief wife of Thutmose II, and ruled jointly with Thutmose III, Thutmose II’s son. She also named herself God's Wife of Amun.
Supreme Court lawyer and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had held several ministries, such as external affairs and information and broadcasting. Named India’s “best loved politician” by Wall Street Journal, Swaraj was known for her prompt assistance to Indians in emergency situations abroad and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan posthumously.
21 Wu Zetian
Wu Zetian was a Chinese empress regnant who ruled the Zhou dynasty from 690 to 705. She is the only female monarch in Chinese history. Before ruling the Zhou dynasty, Wu Zetian had served as the de facto ruler of China from 665 to 690. Under her political and military leadership, the Chinese empire expanded beyond its former territorial limits.
22 Golda Meir
Born in present-day Ukraine and brought up in the United States, the phenomenal rise of Golda Meir to become the prime minister of Israel was driven by her sheer leadership qualities. She steered her country amid hostilities from its neighbourhood during her eventful term as premier which also saw the Yom Kippur War. She is remembered as a strong-willed woman.
23 Kim Yo-jong
The mother of 16 children, Maria Theresa was the only female monarch of the Habsburg empire which she ruled with absolute power. She was known for industrial and educational reforms which led to the development of Austria during her 40-year reign. The devout Roman Catholic, who overtly disliked Jews and the Protestants, was sometimes criticized for her religious intolerance.
Benazir Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who served as Pakistan's prime minister in two separate terms and became the first woman in a Muslim majority nation to lead a democratic government. She was assassinated, at the age of 54, and after her death has been revered by many as an icon for women's rights.
26 Sarah Palin
In 2006, American politician Sarah Palin became the youngest and first female governor of Alaska. A couple of years later, she became the first Republican woman to become a vice presidential candidate. After resigning as the governor of Alaska, she got associated with Fox News, authored a number of books and also appeared in a reality television series.
French politician and lawyer Marine Le Pen, daughter of politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been the president of the National Rally since 2011. She is also serving as the member of the National Assembly for Pas-de-Calais's 11th constituency since 2017. She was previously a member of the European Parliament.
Somali-born Dutch-American activist, feminist, and scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the founder of an organization for the defense of women's rights, the AHA Foundation. She actively opposes forced marriage, honor violence, and child marriage. A former Muslim, she now identifies as an atheist and is a vocal critic of Islam. She is a recipient of the Lantos Human Rights Prize.
31 Jo Cox
British MP and Labour Party politician Jo Cox had also worked with Oxfam. The world was shocked by the news of her brutal assassination in 2016. She was shot and stabbed multiple times by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair, who believed the white race was under threat due to leftist beliefs.
32 Amber Rudd
Amber Rudd is a former politician who served as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions of the United Kingdom from 2018 to 2019. From 2016 to 2018, she served as Home Secretary under Prime Minister Theresa May. Also a humanitarian, Amber Rudd is part of an organization called Snowdon Trust, which helps disabled people access education.
33 Jeanine Anez
34 Sanna Marin
36 Katie Hill
Christine Lagarde is a French politician, businessperson, and lawyer. She is the current president of the European Central Bank (ECB), a position she has been holding since 1 November 2019. Prior to this, she was the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the first woman to head both the ECB and the IMF.
39 Tsai Ing-wen
Taiwanese politician and academic, Tsai Ing-wen, is currently serving as the seventh president of the Republic of China (Taiwan). She has been in office since 2016. She is a member of the Democratic Progressive Party and the first female president of Taiwan. As the president, she has taken steps to fund green energy initiatives and supports LGBTQA+ rights.
40 Jill Stein
42 Annie Besant
Annie Besant was a British theosophist, socialist, writer, orator, educationist, women's rights activist, and philanthropist. Despite being British, Besant supported India's freedom movement and even joined the Indian National Congress. She is also credited with co-founding Banaras Hindu University. Besant also helped launch the Indian Home Rule movement to campaign for democracy in the country.
44 Diane Abbott
Glenda Jackson is best known for her Academy Award-winning roles in the films Women in Love and A Touch of Class. She has also won two Emmys for playing Elizabeth I in the TV series Elizabeth R and a Tony for her role in the play Three Tall Women.
Rachel Johnson is a British television presenter, journalist, and author. She is known for appearing in panel discussion programs and debate programs, such as The Pledge and Question Time. A well-known novelist, Johnson served as a judge of the 2013 Women's Prize for Fiction, one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the UK.
American attorney and author Phyllis Schlafly was a major figure of paleoconservativism and was against feminism, LGBT rights, and abortion. She was also behind the STOP ERA campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment, and her life and times were portrayed in the series Mrs. America, which had Cate Blanchett playing her.