An Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and a missionary, Mother Teresa was the founder of Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation. She was both an admired and controversial figure and was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. While she was admired by many for her charitable work, she also earned criticism for her stance against abortion and contraception.
Born to parents who were bonded slaves, Harriet Tubman life was a difficult one from the very beginning. Yet with her remarkable courage and determination, she not only escaped slavery herself, but also led other enslaved people to freedom. The prominent political activist and abolitionist was also the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the American Civil War.
The last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the last true pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra is described as an extremely beautiful woman who was also intelligent and educated with command over numerous languages. Her romance and military alliances with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony have inspired numerous art works.
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.
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.
The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for over six decades, Queen Victoria reigned for longer than any of her predecessors. Her rule witnessed the vast expansion of the British Empire and ushered in a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military changes. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were celebrated with great pomp and show.
10 Elaine Chao
11 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.
12 Nikki Haley
Born to Indian immigrant parents, Nikki Haley went on to become the first Indian-American to hold an office in South Carolina and later became its governor—the first woman and second Indian American to be appointed governor in the US. A published author, she has also served as the US ambassador to the United Nations.
14 Katie Hill
A Democrat politician and lawyer, Kamala Harris is the vice president-elect of the United States. She will assume the office on 20 January 2021, alongside President-elect Joe Biden. Half-Indian, half-Jamaican, Harris is the first woman, the first Black person and the first Asian-American to be elected vice president.
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.
19 Nancy Pelosi
A congresswoman from California and the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi is a member of the Democratic Party. She is the highest-ranking female elected official in United States history and the only woman in US history to serve as the speaker. She played a key role in the passage of the 2010 Tax Relief Act.
Married to former US president, Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton served as the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Thereafter, she became the first First Lady to hold US senator office. The former Secretary of State in the administration of Barrack Obama also fought and lost, as a Democratic nominee, the 2016 presidential election against Donald Trump.
23 Anne Boleyn
The queen of England from 1533 to 1536, Anne Boleyn played an important role in the political and religious upheaval that led to the beginning of the English Reformation. She is widely regarded as the most important and influential queen consort of England. She was charged with adultery, incest, and treason and was executed by beheading in 1536.
26 Ilhan Omar
Ilhan Omar became the first woman of color to serve as Minnesota's representative in the United States Congress when she was elected in 2019. A popular and influential politician, she supports universal healthcare, affordable housing, and student loan debt forgiveness. Also a human rights and LGBT rights activist, she was featured in Maroon 5's Girls Like You music video.
Octogenarian California senator Dianne Feinstein is living proof that age is just a number. She became the first female San Francisco mayor back in 1978. In 1992, she and Barbara Boxer were elected as the first female California senators. Dianne also contributed to the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994.
The current chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel is widely described as the world's most powerful woman. Also considered the de facto leader of the European Union (EU), Angela Merkel has played an important role in strengthening international trade agreements. In 2020, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.
The Empress of Russia for almost 35 years, Catherine the Great was the country's longest-ruling female leader. An ambitious ruler, she rapidly expanded the Russian Empire and is credited with modernizing the country along Western European lines. She supported the ideals of the Enlightenment and the period of her rule—the Catherinian Era—is considered the Golden Age of Russia.
The third Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi served as PM from 1966 till 1977 and then again from 1980 till her assassination in October 1984. She is considered one of India’s strongest PM and is hailed for leading India to victory over Pakistan in 1971, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. However, she is also categorised as authoritarian and is criticised for imposing Emergency in 1975.
31 Priti Patel
After starting her film career at the age of three, Shirley Temple went on to become Hollywood's highest-grossing child actress from 1935 to 1938. She is the epitome of popular child stars who lose their charm as they grow up. Despite failing as an adult actress, she is ranked 18th in the greatest female screen legends of Classic Hollywood list.
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.
35 Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos, the current United States Secretary of Education, is famous for her support for school voucher programs, school choice, and charter schools. Also known for her philanthropy and activism, Betsy DeVos launched the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation in 1989. The foundation donates to hospitals, arts organizations, health research, Christian schools, etc.
36 Elizabeth I
38 Eva Perón
Considered a progressive, American politician Elizabeth Warren has been an US senator from Massachusetts since 2013. She is known as a supporter of worker representation on board of corporations, harsher punishment for white-collar crimes and a higher minimum wage, among other things. She ran in the Democratic Party presidential primaries for the 2020 elections, but later pulled out of the race.
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.
42 Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi is an Indian politician and president of one of the most prominent Indian political parties, The Indian National Congress. As the president of Indian National Congress, which has been one of India's most successful political parties in the country's post-independence history, Sonia Gandhi remains one of the most powerful women in India.
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.
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.