Thursday, April 8, 2010


Influential women, powerful females
We in the Western world live in a society that is in transition. We had as part of our core values in society the concept we inherited from the remote past where women were expected to stay home and be submissive. It was not conceivable for a woman to hold any kind of prominent position in society, own a business or even be able to participate in government or even participate in the democracy experiment.
In our America, it took a while to have women recognized as equals and even longer for them to just gain the right to vote. Imagine, depriving half of the population of their rights granted by the Constitution to participate in the democratic process.
Although we have made great progress in embracing and accepting women as our equals, there are still remnants of the bigotry and discrimination that was the norm in the past. Just like there are remaining pockets of racism and homophobia left in our collective minds; women have still a ways to go before this is eliminated.
We still incur in the sexist practices of the past. If a woman is strong and successful you could hear the whisper from those around her that she is a “bitch”. Men in positions of power get away with a lot more than women because in the “good old boy system” just about any type of behavior is accepted. When a woman placed in this situation or position, the standards and expected way of behavior all of a sudden change.
The proverbial glass ceiling that still exists in private industry, in government and in academia still has not been completely shattered. Women in power face day after day the hurdles of our biases as a society.
The list below is from the book The 100 Most Influential Women of All Time: A Ranking Past and Present Carol Publishing Group (1995), written by Deborah G. Felder.
1 Eleanor Roosevelt

2 Marie Curie

3 Margaret Sanger
4 Margaret Mead

5 Jane Addams  
6 Mary Wollstonecraft
7 Susan B. Anthony

8 Elizabeth Cady Stanton
9 Harriet Tubman
10 The Virgin Mary
11 Georgia O'Keeffe
12 Frances Perkins
13 Jane Austen
14 Mary Harris "Mother" Jones  
15 Simone de Beauvoir
16 Queen Elizabeth II

17 Rosa Parks

18 Helen Keller
19 Anne Sullivan  

20 Sojourner Truth
21 Queen Isabella
22 Florence Nightingale

23 Karen Horney  
24 Angelina Grimke  
25 Sarah Moore Grimke  
26 Elizabeth Blackwell
27 George Eliot
28 Ida Bell Wells-Barnett  
29 Betty Friedan
30 Rachel Carson
31 Ella Baker  
32 Hannah Arendt
33 Mother Teresa

34 Melanie Klein  
35 Emily Dickinson  
36 Golda Meir

37 Virginia Woolf
38 Queen Victoria

39 Martha Graham  
40 Zora Neale Hurston  
41 Harriet Beecher Stowe
42 Rosa Luxemburg
43 Mary McLeod Bethune
44 Charlotte Bronte
45 Emily Bronte
46 Catherine the Great

47 Carrie Chapman Catt  
48 Jane Goodall  
49 Emma Goldman
50 Hillary Rodham Clinton

51 Coco Chanel  
52 Grace Murray Hopper
53 Barbara McClintock  
54 Gertrude Stein
55 Joan of Arc
56 Indira Gandhi

57 Louise Nevelson
58 Emerneline Pankhurst  
59 Dorothea Lange  
60 Agnes De Mille  
61 Sappho  
62 Nadia Boulanger  
63 Gwendolyn Brooks  
64 Maria Montessori  
65 Marian Anderson
66 Anne Frank  
67 Babe Didrikson Zaharias  
68 Margaret Thatcher  
69 Mary Cassatt  
70 Sarah Bernhardt
71 Aung San Suu Kyi
72 Amelia Earhart  
73 Murasaki Shikibu
74 Toni Morrison  
75 Gloria Steinem
76 Christine de Pisan  
77 Margaret Bourke-White
78 Frida Kahlo
79 Gabriela Mistral
80 Flannery O'Connor
81 Katharine Graham
82 Bessie Smith  
83 Joan Ganz Cooney  
84 Cleopatra  

85 Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

86 Sandra Day O'Connor

87 Ruth Bader Ginsburg

88 Jessie Redmon Fauset  
89 Wu Chao  
90 Billie Holiday  
91 Marilyn Monroe

92 Frances Willard
93 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross  
94 Mary Pickford
95 Leni Riefenstahl
96 Katharine Hepburn
97 Billie Jean King  
98 Princess Diana

99 Lucille Ball
100 Oprah Winfrey

101 Nancy Pelosi (I have added her name since I question the prominence of one or two of the women on this list)

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a great list, though I think that four very important and powerful women in history are not included: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Catherine de Medici, Theodora (wife of Justinian I), and Margaret Fuller. I too question the prominence of one or two of the women on this list. But the four I listed really should be on there.