Whether they served as powerful elected officials or as important figureheads behind the scenes, women have been key members of government since the dawn of time. Here are several influential women throughout history who shaped politics today as we know it.
Catherine Of Aragon (1485-1536)
The first wife of King Henry VIII and the Queen of England from 1509-1533, Catherine of Aragon served as a warning to all women that having a baby will kill your career.
Abigail Adams (1744-1818)
Adams, famous for her outspoken support of women’s rights and the anti-slavery movement, was primarily known for being married to President John Adams, who supported none of her causes.
Queen Victoria (1819-1901)
Reigning over England for 63 years, Queen Victoria firmly established that one of the most efficient ways for a woman to attain political power was to be born into it and then not die for a very long time.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
A pivotal figure in the women’s suffrage movement, Anthony made the unforgivable mistake of fighting for everyone’s, including white women’s, right to vote.
Rebecca Latimer Felton (1835-1930)
The United States’ first female senator may have only served for one day, but she accomplished as little as most senators do in a lifetime.
Lucy Parsons (1851-1942)
A labor organizer and radical socialist, surprisingly, Parsons was never executed or assassinated.
Golda Meir (1898-1978)
The first female Prime Minister of Israel, Meir initially immigrated to Palestine to escape life in Milwaukee.
Shi Liang (1900-1985)
The first Minister of Justice in the People’s Republic of China, Shi Liang lived through the Cultural Revolution, two World Wars, the regime of Chiang Kai-shek, and has a Wikipedia biography that is 67 words long.
Indira Gandhi (1917-1984)
Gandhi served as Prime Minister of India from 1966 until 1977, again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, and will serve a third time upon her miraculous return from the afterlife in 2023 until 2028.
Nancy Reagan (1921-2016)
Historians are pretty sure Nancy Reagan was president for at least the bulk of 1987 and 1988.
Diane Feinstein (1933- )
The California senator became the first female mayor of San Francisco after a couple of assassinations broke her way.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)
Inspired women everywhere with her prolific judicial career, which truthfully maybe should have ended a few years sooner.
Corazon Aquino (1933-2009)
The first female president of the Philippines is commemorated on their 500-piso banknote and will probably be the answer to a crucial Jeopardy! question that causes you to lose thousands of American dollars.
Nancy Pelosi (1940- )
The first woman to become speaker of the House and third in line for the presidency, Pelosi once destroyed Newt Gingrich in a best-out-of-three arm wrestling match, leading to his retirement.
Hillary Clinton (1947- )
The first former first lady to successfully win election to the Senate, Hillary Clinton is best remembered for single-handedly reenergizing the Republican party to continued electoral success.
Angela Merkel (1954- )
Chancellor since 2005, Merkel’s diligent, pragmatic leadership style has made the world almost too comfortable with the idea of Germany taking control of Europe.
Sarah Palin (1964- )
As the GOP’s first woman Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin broke barriers by decisively proving that anyone—literally fucking anyone—can be tapped as their party’s presidential running mate.
Kim Yo-jong (1987- )
The sister of dictator Kim Jong-un plays an influential role in the North Korean government and has risen high enough in the ranks to be the next family member in line to be executed by her brother.
Jacinda Ardern (1980- )
This current prime minister of New Zealand has been hailed for her successful handling of the coronavirus as well as her delightfully charming accent that would distract from a genocide if she ever wanted to carry one out.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (1989- )
Girlfriend of Riley Roberts, current head of marketing for HomeBinder.com.