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Top 10 Greatest Women in History

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

Following on from our lists of evil women and men in history, we are introducing our first list of great people. The women I have selected have been great leaders, warriors, visionaries, or humanitarians. It has been incredibly difficult to rank this list (with the exception of position 1) so you should not consider it to be absolute.

10. Emmeline Pankhurst 1858 – 1928 Wikipedia

Emmeline Pankhurst

In 1889 Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women’s Franchise League, followed by the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1905. She was joined by her daughters Christabel and Sylvia among others in the fight for Women’s Suffrage. Pankhurst’s tactics for drawing attention to the movement led to her being imprisoned several times, and even experienced force-feeding after going on hunger strike several times. She was also instrumental in placing women in men’s jobs during World War 1. She received funding of several thousand pounds from the government to aid her in encouraging employers that women were in fact fit to undertake these jobs. Her efforts finally came to fruition in March 1918, when women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote. Later that same year, women over the age of 21 were given the right to become Members of Parliament, despite the fact they were still unable to vote. It wasn’t until 1928 that women were finally given the same voting rights as men in the United Kingdom.

9. Boudica d. AD 60 or 61 Wikipedia


Boudica was a queen of the Iceni people of Norfolk who lead an uprising of the tribes against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. Her husband, Prasutagus had left his Kingdom jointly to his daughters and the Roman Emperor when he died. The Roman Empire allowed allied independence only for the lifetime of the current king, and inheritance though the male line only was permitted. As he had left his kingdom to his daughters, his will was ignored and his kingdom annexed as if it had been conquered. It is reported that Boudica was flogged and her daughters raped. She was later chosen as the leader of her people and their neighbors in an uprising against the Romans. Her army fell on the poorly defended city of Camulodunum (Colchester), and destroyed it, besieging the last defenders in the temple for two days before it fell. Archaeology shows the city was methodically demolished. Quintus Petillius Cerialis attempted to relieve the city, but his forces were routed. His infantry was wiped out: only the commander and some of his cavalry escaped. Tacitus says the Britons had no interest in taking or selling prisoners, only in slaughter by gibbet, fire, or cross. Dio’s account gives more prurient detail: that the noblest women were impaled on spikes and had their breasts cut off and sewn to their mouths, “to the accompaniment of sacrifices, banquets, and wanton behaviour” in sacred places, particularly the groves of Andraste. Ironically, the great anti-imperialist rebel is now identified with the head of the British Empire, and her statue stands guard over the city she razed to the ground.

8. Catherine of Siena 1347 – 1380 Wikipedia


Saint Catherine of Siena (born 23rd of 25 children) was a scholastic philosopher and theologian. She received no education and at age seven decided to become a lay member of the Dominican religious order (against the wishes of her parents). She lived at home as an anchoress in order to be able to perform acts of self denial that would not have been permitted in a nunnery. Catherine dedicated her life to helping the ill and the poor, where she took care of them in hospitals or homes. She wrote letters to men and women in authority, especially begging for peace between the republics and principalities of Italy and for the return of the papacy from Avignon to Rome. She carried on a long correspondence with Pope Gregory XI, also asked him to reform the clergy and the administration of the Papal States. Incredibly, the Pope, inspired by her wisdom, did return the Papal administration to Rome. Catherine’s letters are considered one of the great works of early Tuscan literature. More than 300 letters have survived. Pope Pius II canonized Catherine in 1461 and she is now one of three female Doctors of the Church. She is also one of the patron saints of Europe. You can read the letters of Saint Catherine of Siena online.

7. Eva Peron 1919 – 1952 Wikipedia

Peron Y Eva - Acto En Plaza De Mayo -17Oct1951

Eva Peron (Evita) was First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. During her time as wife of President Juan Peron, she became powerful within the Pro-Peronist trade unions. Eventually, she founded the charitable Eva Perón Foundation, and the nation’s first large-scale female political party, the Female Peronist Party. Her charitable organization built homes for the poor and homeless, and also provided free health care to citizens. Eventually, Evita became the center of her own vast personality cult and her image and name soon appeared everywhere, with train stations, a city (“Ciudad Evita”), and even a star being named after her. Despite her dominance and political power, Evita was always careful to never undermine the important symbolic role of her husband. On August 22, 1951 the unions held a mass rally of two million people called “Cabildo Abierto” at which they begged Eva Peron to run for vice president. It has been claimed that “Cabildo Abierto” was the largest public display of support in history for a female political figure. She eventually declined to run and died the following year of Cancer.

6. Rosa Parks 1913 – 2005 Wikipedia


Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement”. On December 1, 1955, Parks became famous for refusing to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. This action of civil disobedience started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which is one of the largest movements against racial segregation. In addition, this launched Martin Luther King, Jr., who was involved with the boycott, to prominence in the civil rights movement. She has had a lasting legacy worldwide. Rosa Parks resided in Detroit until she died at the age of ninety-two on October 24, 2005. City officials in Montgomery and Detroit announced on October 27, 2005 that the front seats of their city buses would be reserved with black ribbons in honor of Parks until her funeral. Her casket was transported to Washington, DC, and taken, aboard a bus similar to the one in which she made her protest, to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda (making her the first woman and second African American ever to receive this honor).

5. Tomyris 6th century BC Wikipedia

405Px-Tomyris Plunges The Head Of The Dead Cyrus Into A Vessel Of Blood By Alexander Zick

Tomyris (reigned c. 530 BC) was a queen of the Massagetae, an Iranian people of Central Asia east of the Caspian Sea. She was famous for defeating and killing the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great during his invasion and attempted conquest of her country. When Cyrus captured Tomyris’ son, she sent a letter to him denouncing his treachery and challenging him to honorable battle. In the fight that ensued, the Persians were defeated with high casualties, Cyrus himself was killed, and Tomyris had his corpse beheaded. She allegedly kept his head with her at all times and drank wine from it until her death. Persian and Central Asian folklore maintain a rich store of other tales about Tomyris. It is believed that the word Tomis present day Constanta comes from Tomyris.

4. Hatshepsut, King of Egypt Reign 1479 BC to 1458 BC Wikipedia

559Px-Hatshepsut-Collosalgranitesphinx02 Metropolitanmuseum

Hatshepsut is generally regarded by Egyptologists as one of the most successful female pharaohs, reigning longer than any other woman of an indigenous Egyptian dynasty. Although records of her reign are documented in diverse ancient sources, Hatshepsut was once described by early modern scholars as only having served as a co-regent from about 1479 to 1458 BC, during years seven to twenty-one of the reign previously identified as that of Thutmose III. It is now known that Hatshepsut assumed the position of pharaoh and her reign as king is usually given as twenty-two years since Manetho assigns her a reign of 21 years and 9 months. As Hatshepsut reestablished the trade networks that had been disrupted during the Hyksos occupation of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, thereby building a wealth of the Eighteenth Dynasty that has become so famous since the discovery of the burial of one of her descendants, Tutankhamun, began to be analysed. Hatshepsut was one of the most prolific builders in ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper and Lower Egypt, that were grander and more numerous than those of any of her Middle Kingdom predecessors. Although many Egyptologists have claimed that her foreign policy was mainly peaceful, there is evidence that Hatshepsut led successful military campaigns in Nubia, the Levant, and Syria early in her career.

3. Joan of Arc 1412 – 1431 Wikipedia


Saint Joan of Arc was a 15th century national heroine of France. She was tried and executed for heresy when she was only 19 years old. The judgment was declared invalid by the Pope and she was declared innocent and a martyr 24 years later. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized as a saint in 1920. Joan asserted that she had visions from God which told her to recover her homeland from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege at Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the dismissive attitude of veteran commanders and lifted the siege in only nine days. Several more swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims and settled the disputed succession to the throne. She remained astute to the end of her life and rehabilitation trial testimony frequently marvels at her astuteness. Her subtle replies under interrogation even forced the court to stop holding public sessions.

2. Florence Nightingale 1820 – 1910 Wikipedia

390Px-Florence Nightingale 1920 Reproduction

Florence Nightingale who came to be known as “The Lady with the Lamp”, was a pioneer of modern nursing, a writer and a noted statistician. Her lasting contribution has been her role in founding the modern nursing profession. She set a shining example for nurses everywhere of compassion, commitment to patient care, and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration. The work of the Nightingale School of Nursing continues today. The Nightingale building in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Southampton is named after her. International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday each year. Florence Nightingale’s most famous contribution came during the Crimean War, which became her central focus when reports began to filter back to Britain about the horrific conditions for the wounded. Florence and her compatriots began by thoroughly cleaning the hospital and equipment and reorganizing patient care. Nightingale believed the high death rates in the hospitals were due to poor nutrition and supplies and overworking of the soldiers. Consequently, she reduced deaths in the Army during peacetime and turned attention to the sanitary design of hospitals.

1. Catherine II, Empress of Russia 1729 – 1796 Wikipedia

482Px-Antropov Catherineii

Catherine II (the Great) reigned as Empress of Russia for 34 years, from June 28, 1762 until her death. She exemplifies the enlightened despot of her era. During her reign Catherine extended the borders of the Russian Empire southward and westward to absorb New Russia, Crimea, Right-Bank Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Courland at the expense of two powers — the Ottoman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Catherine made Russia the dominant power in south-eastern Europe after her first Russo–Turkish War against the Ottoman Empire (1768–1774), which saw some of the greatest defeats in Turkish history, including the Battle of Chesma (5 July – 7 July 1770) and the Battle of Kagul (21 July 1770). Catherine’s patronage furthered the evolution of the arts in Russia more than that of any Russian sovereign before or after her. She subscribed to the ideals of the Enlightenment and considered herself a “philosopher on the throne”. She showed great awareness of her image abroad, and ever desired that Europe should perceive her as a civilized and enlightened monarch, despite the fact that in Russia she often played the part of the tyrant.

Notable Additions: Mother Theresa, Susan B Anthony, Cleopatra VII

This article is licensed under the GFDL. It uses material from the Wikipedia articles cited above.

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • Hobolad

    Boudica sounds quite nasty- and wasn’t Florence Nightingale doing more harm than good but just got picked up by the newspapers ’cause she was a noble?

    Interesting list though! Though some of these are impossible to like (y’know, killings and stuff) they’re undoubtedly “Great” in the “Alexander the Great” sense of the word :)

  • Hobolad: I hadn’t heard that about Nightingale – there were more deaths in her hospital than others at the outset, but it was due to sewerage and once that was fixed the deaths reduced.

  • Harsha

    Good List! Maybe you should also add Marie Antoinette to the list!..I always thought “Eat Cake instead!” was a great way to answer the slaves when they said “we have no bread to eat!”
    By the way Mr jfrater do you write all the list on Listverse?….You do a great job of it, I especially love the Science articles!:)

  • Harsha: I have written the majority of them but I get help now from contributors :)

    Oh – incidentally, Marie Antoinette didn’t say “Let them eat cake” – it was falsely attributed to her by people who didn’t like her – it was originally coined by Rousseau in his book “Confessions” written 12 years before Marie Antoinette became Queen of France.

  • Another fascinating read. I’m glad to see Mother Theresa mentioned, albeit as a footnote. While Rosa Parks’ role in the civil rights movement is undeniably key, I was a bit surprised to see that she trumped Mother Theresa. Having said that, I realize “greatest” is completely subjective, but nobody can deny the research and thought poured into this list.

  • and what of Lady Godiva?!?!?!?

  • Joel: I felt that Catherine of Siena better represented the type of person that Mother Theresa was because not only did she help so many people that were unwell, she also acted as a diplomat in a time when women would very seldom have done so :)

  • Ravyn: her naked ride is not historically factual and, otherwise, she was just a wealthy landowner :)

  • sounds reason enough to add her to me ;)

    j/k this just looked good enough time to just put that name out there since I am kinda wanting some chocolate

  • AndyB123

    Cleopatra is not on the list ? Marie Curie ? Gotta love Pankhurst, though. Great photograph.

    • KL1969

      Cleopatra slept with her enemies (Caesar and Antony) to keep Egypt independent only to lose it anyway.

      • Americanized Ninja

        She was also the only member of the Ptolemys who cared enough about Egypt to actually learn the language.

  • AndyB123: Cleopatra lost the Egyptian empire – but I have included her as a notable omission nevertheless :) And Marie Curie was a great scientist, but I felt the others on the list were more suitable.

    Ravyn: hmm – I wouldn’t mind some either!

  • Jamie: I desided to make some white chocolate coffee……mmmmmmmmmmmm I feel better

  • Cat Skyfire

    Excellent list, and not an easy one to create!

  • JT

    Pankhurst was nothing but an annoying obstacle in the path to women’s suffrage. It was because of the Suffragists ridiculous antics like spitting on politicians and throwing themselves in front of horses that politicians like Asquith felt that they lacked any sort of political or rational consciousness.

    If you want a real hero of women’s rights, you should try Milicent Fawcett. It’s because of her calm and peaceful approach to women’s suffrage righst that they were given the vote in 1918. In fact, she had persuaded Asquith to put forward a resolution for women’s suffrage before the war, but then one of Pankhurst’s cronies beat up someone whom she thought was Asquith while she was drunk, and Asquith ripped up the plans.

    Pankhurst and the Suffragettes were nothing but a ridiculous nuisance.

    Also, Margaret Thatcher should be on this list. That woman was absolutely incredible.

  • What about Erin Pizzey, founder of the Women’s shelter movement?

  • Chris: a good woman for sure, but I wouldn’t call her great.

  • MCardona

    What about Clara Barton? After providing medical attention to Civil War soldiers, even on the frontline, she became the President of the American Red Cross for 22 years. Besides providing aid during wartime, she expanded the Red Cross to include helping people during disasters such as earthquakes, floods, disease outbreaks, etc.

  • jfrater,

    She was overshadowed by women who changed the message from, “help the women” to “help the women and hate the men” and denied her entry in the very shelter she created.

    She was good because she created the shelter and started an important movement; she was great because she exposed the excesses of the same movement and continued to do so after she was ostracized for it *by the shelter she created*.

    btw, Catherine the Great was named one of the “Most Evil Women in History” in Shelley Klein’s book of that name.

  • Fe

    I’m surprised by the presence of Eva Peron and Catherine the Great, since they are so controversial and polarizing. Actually, when you get down to it, most of the women on the list, and the notable exceptions, are controversial in their own ways. Because they are women?

  • Monique


  • Monique

    Okay, Seriously I do not understand the importance of Rosa Parks being on this particular list. If this was a list of 30 people and she was an honarable mention only then would I be satisfied. I know that there had to be at least one African-American woman on the list, but Rosa Parks, seriously?!? There are many other important Black Women who have existed throughout history, such as I don’t know, Harriet Tubman (that little ole’ black lady who risked her life to help FREE SLAVES!!!!!), Angela Davis, Daisy Bates, Ruby Bridges (although not a Woman, she got up every day and carried a bigger burden on her shoulders than most adults today have the guts to, without out the need for excessive amounts of therapy), Irene Morgan(Rosa Parks’ predecessor) or even Sojourner Truth. Not to mention (non-minorities), Viola Liuzzo (the only white woman killed during the civil rights movement), Elizabeth Blackwell (The first female doctor in the USA), Lydia Maria Child, Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, Grimké sisters, Lucy Stone, Clara Barton, or Mary O’Connell. I could go on and on naming Women of more significance to history than Rosa Parks (poor, poor choice). If she was a man she would have been long forgotten which is not necessarily true in relation to the other Women on this list. All she did was not get up from a seat on the bus. It was not as if black people were stagnant and comepletely satisfied with their position and treatment in the world and once she said no, we all had a revelation and decided that we had to fight for equality. Besides not getting out of her seat, What else did she do? What marches or sit-ins did Rosa organize? What speeches or lectures did Ms. Parks give? What is so significant about this woman?

  • I am pleased to see this list, my feminist side is very happy with you. However, this is also a very subjective list…and I don’t agree with a lot of it, but I *know* that you’d disagree with who I would nominate, so I’ll just leave it at that. I agree with Fe, I am surprised to see Catherine the Great and Eva on the list… =/

  • MojoRisin

    Someone once told me that Catherine of Russia died when she was crushed by a horse while trying to have sex with it. I think I may just be gullible though haha/

  • bucslim

    You forgot Mary Anne from Gilligan’s Island, Jessica Alba, Pam Anderson, Raquel Welch and Farrah Fawcett.

    Jeez, what’s wrong with you people? Duhh!

  • tonybrush

    i would have to agree with monique. many people were refusing to sit in the back of the bus before rosa parks. it isn’t she that is great, but the chain reaction in which her arrest caused that is great.

    harriet tubman is a big snub. not just a great woman, harriet tubman is an american icon. one of the greatest freedom fighters ever.

    but other then that, great list as always.

  • What about Queen Elizabeth I of England?

    She was, at least, one of the greatest English monarchs; she certainly deserves to be on this list.

  • Stryker80

    I have to agree with Monique, I feel Rosa Parks shouldn’t be on this list for what she did. There are so many African-American women who contribute to science, education, arts, and for the cultural movement than what she did.

    MojoRisin; I believe that was a rumor created by her enemies due to the fact she had a multitude of lovers.

  • Bree

    Just a little note, you might want to look into Theodora of Byzantium. She was known as one of the very first feminists. She shared rulership with her husband, Justinian, and spent the early part of her life as an actress (read ‘prostitue’). When Justinian’s father allowed his son to overturn the law that political men could not marry actresses, he took Theodora as his queen. She singlehandedly gave women rights in Byzantium, made it so that rape was an offense punishable by death, passed a law that infants could not be exposed on building steps, and even established schools for young prostitutes, like she had been. She was even responsible for the victory of her husband’s troops in the Riot of the Reds and Blues, a riot that captured the Hypodrome. I think she deserves recognition for her amazing forward thinking, as well as marrying a man who was willing to let her do what she felt needed to be done.

  • Ryon

    Sister Theresa anyone?

  • Monique: Why did there have to be one black American woman on the list? I don’t write my lists to satisfy politically correct inclinations – I despise political correctness (as I think you will see on some of my other lists). I am not even American – so why would I feel obliged to include any Americans on any lists if they did not meet my requirements? If it were not for the results of the publicity surrounding Parks’ actions, there may still not be any chance for American black people to be involved in the activities you list.

    Ryon: Sister Theresa? Who is she?

  • Monique

    jfrater: I suppose that since you put it that way you did not have to include any Americans at all, but nonetheless you did. Rosa Parks is a bad choice over other prominent women who preceded her like Harriet Tubman. Seeing as how you are not an American, maybe you have never heard of this woman. I just feel like someone else got a little slighted by her inclusion on this list. She did not accomplish enough to merit it. Research a little more next time and you may discover someone better.

  • Jais jos

    this article is really benfitial to students like was very useful to me.

  • Monique: okay – I get your point :) Oh – and please don’t think I don’t do research – in my research the name that kept coming up was Rosa Parks – remember that I have to be a jack of all trades here (which means a master of none) – you may have studied this subject in depth – I get three hours per list to try to come up with something that can at least convince an expert – it is not easy. I strongly recommend you write a list on any topic and submit it to me – you will see :) I do mean that btw, you could be in to win an iPod nano!

    Jais jos: Thank you – I am glad you found it useful :)

    • Ortega&Gasset

      I’m an Spanish reader, I’ve been surfing Listverse for almost 3 years, and I must say I always get dissapointed about the way you treat my country’s history. You never mention, for example, the Spanish Empire, the greatest mankind has known…In this list, I would have mentioned Isabel the Catholic Queen, she was the one that paid the travel in wich America was discovered! She joined the whole Spanish Crown! She expulsed the arabs fron the Peninsule!
      As I said before, I personally feel mistreated by this site in that aspect…

  • Max

    Interesting list. It needs some brains or creativity in it though. Joan of Arc is hard to classify, but otherwise 5 of them are rulers, 2 are motivated by compassion (always considered the female virtue), and 2 are just protesters. I would like to see someone who made a mental contribution to humanity, like Marie Curie or Rosalind Franklin, or a great writer or poet.

  • Alexandra

    This was really interesting.

    And Ravyn, Lady Godiva really is a true role model, eh? Ha ha.

  • Alexandra: The story of Lady Godiva’s bare ride is an inspiration to the people not to be ashamed of thier natrual beauty. Not to be so ashamed that it is considered offensive for someone to walk around naked. People should not be uncomfortable with the skin they were given, so much that they must hide and make everyone hide as well. If a person is that uncomfortable with their own skin, they should not punish another who is comfortable. (I know that is not what her ride was about, but it is a subfactor although.)

  • kate

    Bravo for Catherine! A great woman- but no mention of Marie Therese of Austria, or Elisabeth, Eleanor of Aquitaine or Isabella of Spain? For shame.

  • Curie I can agree with – but Elizabeth I was an evil wench – she was a murderous vile woman.

    • pvcmermaid

      What a ridiculous thing to say about Elizabeth I.

      Firstly, “evil” is meaningless moralising and an utterly unsupported value judgement. She was not in any sense a “wench” unless you use the word for any woman you disapprove of. Might be better to check the definition of it. I presume by “murderous” you mean that she, like every other monarch, had people executed? Elizabeth actually pursued a path of tolerance for much of her reign as well as a higher degree of religious freedom than most of her contemporaries (compare England to France and Spain, for example) and “vile” is as meaningless and useless a term as “evil.”

      The list as a whole is ok but pedestrian. Veronica Franco might have been a better and more interesting inclusion than Catherine of Siena; Eleanor of Aquitaine is an omission; Elizabeth I deserves to be included. The list goes on.

  • Max

    What about the queen Elizabeth I??? the most poweful woman in the history, and right! Marie Curie she was more famous and important than her husband.

  • Rachel of Cyberia

    #11. Mom.

  • Angelina

    Hear, hear, Rachel! Mom is #11!

  • No Paris Hilton. Whats the world coming to!!!

  • Sunny

    hey Jfrater…i dont think you’ve ever heard of Jhansi ki Rani ( The Queen of Jhansi, India ) who fought the British soldiers riding on a horse with the sword in one hand and her young infant tied to her back…
    I have not posted this because she belongs to my country but for the reason that if you have created a list for the 10 greatest women in history she should be duly included in it….
    hope u do some more research before u put in a list

  • I expected Joan of Arc to be first. Also, Florence Nightingale was not who we think she was. She did not care about the soldiers, and did not cry when a soldier died, her hospitals were in horrible conditions etc. Is that true?

  • Joan of Arc is definitlye one of the greatest women to ever live. Joan of Arc – is a much better place than wikipedia to learn more about her life

  • Nabila

    Yes, I definitely think Theodora should have been considered, and also, have you ever heard of Nzingha? She was a queen of Angola in the 17th century

  • Allie

    what about Elizabeth Ann Seaton?

  • Sutemi

    We need the same kind of list about men!

  • Double

    Queen Victoria? Expanded and presided over the largest empire ever known, forming much of the modern world.

  • Double

    Mary, mother of Jesus? or is that fiction?

  • AM

    Margret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi..both ruled their countries for a long time…

  • ralph

    Whoa! Where is mother theresa

  • tjp

    who the hell would seriously suggest milk snatcher thatcher?

    mary woolstonecraft should not only be on this list, but right at the top. she practically invented feminism. and gave birth to the author of frankenstein. (the 1st ones more important, tho)
    also, mary seacole was at least as important as florence nightingale. but she was black, so everyone forgot her and talked about florence instead.

  • Trav

    What about Queen Elizabeth I? She ruled England and Ireland for 45 years. She also made England an primary world power. She executed very few people. She ruled when for the English tradition, men were masters over women, at all levels, even at the top. Elizabeth I used her beauty, her singleness, to help shape her reign. Upon her death bed, she made King James VI of Scotland her successor.

  • Elisabetta

    “but Elizabeth I was an evil wench – she was a murderous vile woman.”

    Thank God pretty much every historian worth his salt disagrees with this.

  • Elisabetta: I disagree. Wikipedia has an interesting view on her which you can read here. It suggests that her reign’s popularity has swung back and forth based upon English patriotism. Certainly in her time she was viewed with hatred by all but the Protestants. If modern historians want to do a little revisionism, all and well, but what we know of her time – from her time – paints a different picture.

    I also find it interesting that you suggest that historians who adore her are “worth [their] salt” – thereby implying that those who disagree (and agree with the worldview in her time) are not.

  • Elisabetta

    WIKIPEDIA is not a source I consider reliable. “Worth their salt” doesn’t mean they have to adore her. Merely do her justice. Starkey wrote much warranted criticism on her and her reign. I cannot take religious fanaticism seriously, I respect Elizabeth I. as a ruler. She deserves that, like it or not. Even her opponents agree here. And Eva Peron and Catherine of Russia’s reputations are WAY more dubious than Elizabeth’s has ever been. (Great women though, both of them)

  • Hayley

    I believe cleopatra should be more than a notable omission. You can’t credit her for losing the empire. She received it when rome was already close to getting it

  • Anthonia Anuforo

    Great job for starters.This kind of assessment encourages more women to work circumspectly,knowing that all ears are hearing and eyes seeing. But have you heard about Fumilayo Ramsome Kuti,Queen Amina of Zaria(Warrior), Magaret Ekpo( of Aba Riot). All three amazons are from Nigeria. Talking about History, what about Kathryn Kulman and Emie Macpherson. Dora Akuyili of Nigeria of our time will go down in History as one who won the drug war.I hope you would find time sufficient to run a worthy check on these submissions and maybe include them on your list. This world is not completely a men’s world. Our problem has been adequate acceptance of the roles played by women and reportage.

  • Labro

    I cannot believe you put Catherine the Great on this list at all, nevermind as the top spot! She is single handedly responsible for putting more restrictions on the peasants, pretending to be enlightened while only using the Enlightenment ideas that suited her despotic reign. By the end of reign all the philosophes denounced her and her usurpation of power. She played favourites all through her reign, taking control of and then completely destroying Poland and Hungary as independent states. Anyone who knows anything about history knows this woman is the furthest thing from great, she belongs on the list of evil women, where you placed Elizabeth 1 of England! You got it COMPLETELY backward!!!

  • landlady

    i think MARIA Montessori should be on the list , she was the first female doctor in Italy AND SHE DECIDED THAT SHE WANTS TO CONTINUE HER STUDIES AT THE AGE OF 12 !!!!!!!!she did not care about the fact that there were no other female doctor then .

  • someone?

    i agree…..but have you noticed most of the people we’ve been talking about right now are women?…..

    GIRL POWER!!!!!!!!!

  • suha fadl

    erm… so no spice girls?

  • Rohit Sapru

    Its Mother Teresa, not Theresa.

  • Mother Teresa

    What a shame Mother Teresa should be at first place.
    And i do not see her here.

    This is unbeliveble.

  • Mother Teresa

    Of course “Russian first place” hahhahahahhah

    I know whats going on in this page.

  • Albania

    Catherina of Russia was of Albanian Origine.

  • deviljin

    Mother Teresa should not be on the list. She was evil. There are a LOT of sources that point out how she let many people die in her care and how she was a fanatic of suffering. She also took large sums of money from the most evilest people. You should read about the real side of her

    Where the hell is Queen Elizabeth? One of the greatest women ever. I thought she’d be No.1

  • GTT

    jfrater (39):

    *gasp* Really? I myself have mixed feelings about the woman but you cannot deny that she has more historical importance than Rosa Parks…

    And I totally agree with kate (37), Eleanor of Aquitaine and at the very least Isabella of Castille should DEFINATELY be included on a list like this.

    Catherine the Great was overrated IMHO. So is Evita Peron.

    I love Joan of Arc though…

  • l4love!

    Well obviously everyone has different views on the matter… the main idea we all agree with however. There HAVE been great women throughout history, some greater then other. Even with this being evident though, we should all be thankful to them, as ladies ourselves, that they have contributed all of their greatness, into 1 gigantonormous pot of girl power! Yay

  • ea

    Great women are women heroes, heroines; all are successful women noteworthy for excelling, whether as patriotic women helping women’s education or in special educational needs or great, unforgettable in other fields ~not all are known historical figures, famous women, but they are notable women because they are exemplary women -they inspire, e.g., on women’s education, the late, Suzan Ari or, e.g., on children’s special needs, Refia Ari

  • Cay

    Have you ever seen the play “Evita?” I have, so finding on this list was… interesting, to say the least.

  • BeardOFire

    Just messing around

  • petie

    @BeardOFire (73): Dork!

  • petie

    @BeardOFire (73): Double dork!

  • ShiAlewd

    litte suprised Mother Teresa is not on the list

  • Ctkaczyk


    • HLAN

      You are seriously retarded right?
      I think you are… Who makes babies in the Kitchen?
      Your Mother?
      Perhaps… that explains you then.
      Think before you say something stupid.
      *SIGH* “Men….”

  • gabi319

    @Ctkaczyk (77):
    I didn’t know the kitchen was the only place to make babies. They obviously lied to me during sex ed.

  • Paul X

    Rosa Parks? You must be joking! One of the most overated people in history.A total myth.

  • ianz09

    @Paul X (79): Obvious Troll is obvious

  • appie

    I’m for Cry Aquino of the Philippines,.. ;)

  • appie

    oh’s Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino.,,:)

  • Name

    This list is really off-base. These figures are interesting, but “greatest”? Come on!

    How about: Elizabeth I of England, Catherine di Medici, Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, Rachel Carson, Marie Curie, Mary Godwin, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Hildegard von Bingen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Aung San Suu Kyi, Margaret Sanger?

    Eva Peron does NOT belong on the list (her “work for the poor” was window dressing for her husband’s fascism)

  • Catelin

    boudicca was most certainly not nasty ‘Hobolad’
    she was mokced and publicly beated by the romans, and her 2 daughters raped, to humiliate the formal rulers.
    i imagine you act quite nasty towards someone if thats how you were treated.

  • Janrenann

    Corazon Aquino YES,
    Cleopatro NO..she had her brothers and sister murdered.
    Eleanor Roosevelt?

  • emu

    @bucslim (24): wow thats just stupid its great women of history and the list is more about women in the past not singers and movies stars stupid.

    anyways this is a top 10 list just go to
    its got many great women in history

  • Jacquelyn

    I’m surprised that Queen Elizabeth I was not on this list. She was badass.

  • corrector

    there is so much euro-centrism going on here its ridiculous. Are you telling me there are no great women from India, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, native American tribes from North or South America?

    Here are a coupe off the top of my head: Jhansi ki Rani (India, fought the british after her husband turned out to be a coward, fought on horse back with a baby on her back, died in the battle field), Sacagawea….

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  • Njoy

    you might add to the list the queen of Jhansi in India, or of course Indira Gandhi, first indian woman to become prime minister

  • ea
  • Kelly

    Where’s Queen Elizabeth I??

  • boy see

    how about cry aquino? does'nt she deserve to be included among the greatest women in history?

  • Marshall Mathers


  • noob

    teh monster iz here LOL OMG BRB WHY TEH FACE

  • Lennon

    Where’s Queen Elizabeth I on this?

  • HLAN

    Lady Roosevelt anyone???

    She was a leading pioneer for women and African American rights.

    She lead the funding for the Tuskegee Airman who where one of the most prominent military figures of our time.

    She even rode in a plane with one of the airman during their graduation ceremony. :)

    • Alex

      When even Mother Theresa and Queen Elisabeth I, failed to make the list I hardly think Lady Roosevelt is worthy.

  • jason

    Joan de arc is better than catherine. What about emile chatelet?

  • anGel_OnE

    I agree with those who said, Mary (mother of Jesus), Cleopatra VII, Marie Curie, and Rosalind Franklin! I would like to add some names: Zenobia, Marilyn Monroe, Angelina Jolie, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and Oprah Winfrey. :)

    • R_5

      I agree with those who said, Mary (mother of Jesus), Cleopatra VII, Marie Curie, and Rosalind Franklin! I would like to add some names: Zenobia, Marilyn Monroe,

      Marilyn Monroe, Angelina Jolie, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and Oprah Winfrey? Hardly; Kirchner is a second rate president, enept at running her country and like previous governments uses the Falklands dispute to distract the country from its woes. The other lot are celebrates, tallented in their field but can hardly be compared to the likes of people like Elisabeth I and Mother Teresa who failed to make the list.

  • bob

    Where’s Princess Diana? Mother Teresa?

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  • J. Davey

    Eleanor of Aquitaine should be on here, without a doubt. One of the most powerful women of all time – she led several civil wars against her husband, and he still invited her round for Christmas dinner!

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  • jbmoney

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    I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!!!!!! <<<<3


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  • bob

    Wheres queen elizabeth? She kept the country together, stopped her crazy sister mary, defeated the spanish armada and kept her throne as a woman against all the nobles who wanted to overthrow her.

  • angelina

    nice bt written in a very short manner…bt its gud overall..!!!

  • rexand

    I will stick my dick in your fanny…. ohhhhhhhhh yes!!

  • Carly

    What about Anne Boleyn? (The woman who basically established the Protestant Reformation in England, and allowed the first Wnglish Bible into court and read it publically despite the strict heresy laws. And in her own way one of the original feminists) Still, some interesting names. Very well researched.:)

  • tom222

    What about the great Mother teresa and Marie curie?

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  • hiyo

    1. eve, mother to all the females in the universe and 2 maria.

  • hiyo

    Arawelo who was queen in east Africa. queen was well known for defying gender roles, and in the case of the Buraan droughts (before she was queen) she and a team of women prevented the town from starvation and migration by hunting and fetching water. Arawelo’s husband objected to her self-ascribed role as the breadwinner to all of society, as he thought women should be restrict themselves to merely domestic duties about the house and leave everything else to men.

    search wiki in you want more of her. Arawelo was known to castrate male prisoners .

    • hiyo

      I mean if you are interested in her story check wiki for information.

  • billy webb

    where is elizibeth 1 and friggen rosa parks what a joke

  • Scott

    No Queen Elizabeth I of England really top ten is broken. And totally stupid.

  • Scott

    That is like saying King Alfred The Great was a poor king

  • Scott

    There is no woman in history greater than Elizabeth I of England. Fools. Rosa Parks really? Where is Thacther you may not like her but she was one of most powerful women in history. By the way Joan of Arc was a puppet created by the French Nobles to create propaganda. Elizabeth I of England was not propaganda she was real.

  • jack

    Correction, this post should be named Top 10 greatest WESTERN woman in history.

    You missed out some of the very important ones in the east, Empress Wu Zetian was the sole woman emperor of China, she started as a minor concubine of the emperor and took over power, she ruled for many decades as well.

    Then there is Empress Dowager Cixi, she was the mother of the emperor, but by all means she took over control of the nation, and with her misrule, she drove the Qing empire into the ground.

    Then you would have Trung sisters, who started a rebellion and fought off the Chinese force for over 3 years, they are now national heros in Vietnam.

    All of those 3 people, I think are by far, had much more impact than Rosa Parks or Eva Peron or Emmeline Pankhurst.

    But.. oh well, I guess the Asians don’t count, because they look different than us right?

  • tarek

    ou est agatha christie

  • Name

    good list!

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