Lists of Influential Women

Lists on this page:
- The 100 Most Influential Women of All Time: A Ranking Past and Present
- 100 Women Who Shaped World History
- 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century
- The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World

The 100 Most Influential Women of All Time: A Ranking Past and Present

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.

1Eleanor RooseveltEpiscopalian
2Marie CurieCatholic (lapsed)
3Margaret SangerAtheist
4Margaret MeadEpiscopalian
5Jane Addams 
6Mary WollstonecraftUnitarian
7Susan B. AnthonyQuaker; Unitarian
8Elizabeth Cady Stantonatheist
9Harriet TubmanMethodist
10The Virgin MaryJewish; Christian icon
11Georgia O'KeeffeEpiscopalian (nominal)
12Frances PerkinsEpiscopalian
13Jane AustenAnglican
14Mary Harris "Mother" Jones 
15Simone de BeauvoirCatholic
16Queen Elizabeth IAnglican
17Rosa ParksMethodist
18Helen KellerSwedenborgian
19Anne Sullivan 
20Sojourner TruthMethodist; Seventh-day Adventist
21Queen IsabellaCatholic
22Florence NightingaleAnglican
23Karen Horney 
24Angelina Grimke 
25Sarah Moore Grimke 
26Elizabeth BlackwellQuaker
27George EliotAnglican; agnostic
28Ida Bell Wells-Barnett 
29Betty FriedanJewish
30Rachel CarsonEnvironmentalist
31Ella Baker 
32Hannah ArendtJewish
33Mother TeresaCatholic
34Melanie Klein 
35Emily Dickinson 
36Golda MeirJewish
37Virginia WoolfNeo-Pagan
38Queen VictoriaAnglican
39Martha Graham 
40Zora Neale Hurston 
41Harriet Beecher StoweCongregationalist
42Rosa LuxemburgJewish
43Mary McLeod BethuneMethodist
44Charlotte BronteAnglican
45Emily BronteAnglican
46Catherine the GreatRussian Orthodox
47Carrie Chapman Catt 
48Jane Goodall 
49Emma GoldmanJewish
50Hillary Rodham ClintonMethodist
51Coco Chanel 
52Grace Murray HopperJewish
53Barbara McClintock 
54Gertrude SteinJewish
55Joan of ArcCatholic
56Indira GandhiHindu
57Louise NevelsonJewish
58Emrneline Pankhurst 
59Dorothea Lange 
60Agnes De Mille 
62Nadia Boulanger 
63Gwendolyn Brooks 
64Maria Montessori 
65Marian AndersonBaptist
66Anne FrankJewish
67Babe Didrikson Zaharias 
68Margaret Thatcher 
69Mary Cassatt 
70Sarah BernhardtJewish
71Aung San Suu KyiBuddhist
72Amelia Earhart 
73Murasaki ShikibuBuddhist/Shinto culture
74Toni Morrison 
75Gloria Steinemhalf-Jewish; Feminist, Humanist
76Christine de Pisan 
77Margaret Bourke-WhiteEthical Culture
78Frida KahloJewish Catholic
79Gabriela MistralJewish Catholic
80Flannery O'ConnorCatholic
81Katharine GrahamJewish
82Bessie Smith 
83Joan Ganz Cooney 
85Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy OnassisCatholic
86Sandra Day O'ConnorEpiscopalian
87Ruth Bader GinsburgJewish
88Jessie Redmon Fauset 
89Wu Chao 
90Billie Holiday 
91Marilyn MonroeChristian Science;
temporary convert to Judaism
92Frances WillardMethodist
93Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 
94Mary PickfordCatholic; Christian Science (convert)
95Leni RiefenstahlLutheran
96Katharine Hepburnnominal Episcopalian background; atheist
97Billie Jean King 
98Princess DianaAnglican
99Lucille BallProtestant; Dutch Reformed (Rev. Peale)
100Oprah WinfreyProtestant

100 Women Who Shaped World History

The list below is from the book 100 Women Who Shaped World History (Bluewood Books: San Francisco, CA, 1994), written by Gail Meyer Rolka.

The names in this list are listed in chronological order. This book does not purport to list the "most influential" women in history. The back cover states:

History is filled with thousands of people who have made significant accomplishments. However, among these are figures who have risen as true beacons of greatness--whose personal talent, striving and unique sense of vision have earned them a place in the annals of history. 100 Women Who Shaped World History provides capsule views of 100 such women whose indomitable spirit and desire to excel changed the course of world history. This book is a perfect desk reference for trivia fans and for anyone interested in learning more about the achievements and contributions of women.
Queen Makare Hatshepsutd. 1483 BC
Deborahc. 1150 BCJewish
Sappho (Psappho)c. 600 BC
Aspasiac. mid-5th century BC
Cleopatra VII69-30 BC
Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christc. 22-20 BCJewish; Christian icon
Boadicea (Boudicca)d. 60 AD
St. Helenac. 250-c. 330 ADCatholic
Zenobia (Septimia Bat Zabbai)c. 3rd century AD
Hypatia370-415 ADpagan
Theodora497-548 AD
Eleanor of Aquitaine1122-1204Catholic
Queen Tamara (Thamar)c. 1156-1212
Queen Margaret1353-1412
Joan of Arc1412-1431Catholic
Isabella I1451-1504Catholic
Catherine of Aragon1485-1536Catholic
Catherine de Medicie1519-1589Catholic
Elizabeth I1533-1603Anglican
Queen Jinga (Jinga Mbandi)c. 1580-1663
Pocahontas (Matoaka)c. 1595-1617Protestant
Mary Wortley Montagu1689-1762
Emilie du Chatelet1706-1749
Catherine the Great1729-1796Russian Orthodox
Caroline Herschel1750-1848
Catherine Littlefield Greene1755-1814
Maie Lavoisier1758-1797
Mary Wollstonecraft1759-1797Unitarian
Sophie German1776-1831
Elizabeth Fry1780-1845
Mary Fairfax Somerville1780-1872
Sacajawea ("Bird Woman")1784?-1812 or 1884
La Saragossa (Maria Agustin)1786-1857
Lucretia Coffin Mott1793-1880Quaker
Catherine Beecher1800-1878
Dorothea Dix1802-1887
Harriet Beecher Stowe1811-1896Congregationalist
Ada Lovelace1815-1852
Charlotte Bronte1816-1855Anglican
Emily Bronte1818-1848Anglican
Elizabeth Cady Stanton1815-1902
Lucy Stone1818-1893
Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot)1819-1880Anglican; agnostic
Queen Victoria1819-1901Anglican
Susan B. Anthony1820-1906Quaker; Unitarian
Florence Nightingale1820-1910Anglican
Harriet Tubmanc. 1820-1913Methodist
Clara Barton1821-1912
Elizabeth Blackwell1821-1910Quaker
Mary Baker Eddy1821-1910Christian Science
Lakshmi Bai, Rani of Jhansic. 1830-1858
Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones)1830-1930
Louisa May Alcott1832-1888
Sophia Jex-Blake1840-1912
Annie Besant1847-1933Theosophy
Emma Lazarus1849-1887Jewish
Emmeline Pankhurst1858-1928
Christabel Pankhurst1880-1958
Carrie Chapman Catt1859-1947
Jane Addams1860-1935
Mary Kingsley1862-1900
Marie Curie1867-1934Catholic (lapsed)
Sarah Breedlove Walker1867-1919
Gertrude Bell1868-1926
Alice Hamilton1869-1970
Rosa Luxemburg1870-1919Jewish
Maria Montessori1870-1952
Julia Morgan1872-1957
Mary McLeod Bethune1875-1955Methodist
Helen Keller1880-1968Swedenborgian
Frances Perkins1880-1965Episcopalian
Emmy Noether1882-1935
Margaret Higgins Sanger1883-1966Sanger
Eleanor Roosevelt1884-1962Episcopalian
Karen Horney1885-1952
Sister Elizabeth Kenny1886-1952
Louise Boyd1887-1972
Lucila Godey Alcaya (Gabriela Mistral)1889-1957Jewish Catholic
Agatha Christie1891-1976
Martha Graham1984-1991
Anne Freud1897-1937Freudian Psychoanalysis; Atheist
Golda Meir1898-1978Jewish
Margaret Mead1901-1978Episcopalian
Marian Anderson1902-1993Baptist
Margaret Bourke-White1904-1971Ethical Culture
Rachel Carson1907-1964Environmentalist
Mother Teresa1910-1997Catholic
Rosa Parks1913-Methodist
Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias1914-1956
Indira Gandhi1917-1984Hindu
Betty Friedan1921-Jewish
Shirley Chisholm1924-Baptist
Margaret Thatcher1925-
Anne Frank1929-1945Jewish
Toni Morrison1931-
Corazon Aquino1933-
Valentina Tereshkova1937-
Marian Wright Edelman1939-Baptist
Rigoberta Menchu1959-

100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century

The list below is from the book 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century (Ladies' Home Journal Books: Des Moines, Iowa; 1998), edited by Lorraine Glennon.

The individuals in the book are categorized into groups (Activists and Politicians; Writers and Journalists; Doctors and Scientists; Entrepreneurs; Artists and Entertainers; Athletes; Pioneers and Adventurers), and presented alphabetically within each group. The book does not attempt to rank these individuals, aside from identifying them collectively as the top 100 most influential women of the 20th Century.

Text from inside book jacket:

Women found their voice in the 20th Century. No longer silent and passive, no longer confined to kitchens and bedrooms, women today are educators and athletes, politicians and activists, doctors and adventurers. Women entrepreneurs boldly lead in business. Women scientists make breakthrough discoveries. Women journalists and writers suggest new ways of examining issues and events.

As we head into the new millennium, one thing is certain: Women will never be the same. Neither will the world. Selected by a team of several top women historians from across the nation and the editors of Ladies' Home Journal, the women in this book helped bring about this major transformation.

Narrowing the choice down to just 100 names was a daunting task. But some names practically suggested themselves. What would the world be like without Eleanor Roosevelt's compassionate local action? Or Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, which drew attention to the perils that unchecked pesticides held for our environment? Where would we be without the liberating message of freedom and equality from impassioned women like Betty Friedan, Margaret Sanger, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Gloria Steinem?

Not everyone will agree with every choice made for this book. But let's face. One hundred volumes wouldn't do justice to the accomplishments of women in this past century. The women in this book will influence our lives for untold years to come.

Activists and Politicians
Jane Addams
Madeleine AlbrightAnglican
Mary McLeod BethuneMethodist
Hillary Rodham ClintonMethodist
Marian Wright EdelmanBaptist
Indira GandhiHindu
Ruth Bader GinsburgJewish
Emma GoldmanJewish
Anita Hill
Dolores Huerta
Maggie Kuhn
Golda MeirJewish
Rigoberta Menchu
Sandra Day O'ConnorEpiscopalian
Jacqueline Kennedy OnassisCatholic
Rosa ParksMethodist
Alice Paul
Frances PerkinsEpiscopalian
Eva Peron
Jiang Qing
Eleanor RooseveltEpiscopalian
Phyllis Schlafly
Gloria Steinemhalf-Jewish; Feminist, Humanist
Daw Aung San Suu KyiBuddhist
Mother TeresaCatholic
Margaret Thatcher
Writers and Journalists
Maya Angelou
Hanna Arendt
Rachel CarsonEnvironmentalist
Agatha Christie
Simone de BeauvoirCatholic
Anne FrankJewish
Betty FriedanJewish
Ann Landers
Margaret Mitchell
Toni Morrison
Dorothy Parkerhalf-Jewish
Sylvia Plath
Gertrude SteinJewish
Barbara Walters
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Virginia WoolfNeo-Pagan
Doctors and Scientists
Virginia Apgar
Helen Caldicott
Marie CurieCatholic (lapsed)
Rosalind Franklin
Jane Goodall
Grace Hopper
Melanie Klein
Mary Leakey
Barbara McClintock
Lise MeitnerJewish-born Protestant
Coco Chanel
Julia Child
Elsie de Wolfe
Katharine GrahamJewish
Ruth Handler
Estee LauderJewish
Jean Nidetch
Mary Quant
Martha StewartCatholic
Oprah WinfreyProtestant
Artists and Entertainers
Marian AndersonBaptist
Lucille BallProtestant; Dutch Reformed (Rev. Peale)
Margaret Bourke-WhiteEthical Culture
Maria Callas
Isadora Duncan
Ella Fitzgerald
Jane Fondaborn-again Christian
Greta GarboLutheran
Martha Graham
Katharine Hepburnnominal Episcopalian background; atheist
Billie Holiday
Janis JoplinChurches of Christ
Frida KahloJewish Catholic
Dorothea Lange
MadonnaCatholic; Kabbalah
Marilyn MonroeChristian Science;
temporary convert to Judaism
Georgia O'KeeffeEpiscopalian (nominal)
Mary PickfordCatholic; Christian Science (convert)
Leni RiefenstahlLutheran
Nadia Comaneci
Babe Didrikson
Gertrude Ederle
Sonja Henie
Billie Jean King
Suzanne Lenglen
Wilma Rudolph
Pioneers and Adventurers
Nancy Brinker
Helen Gurley Brown
Diana, Princess of Wales
Amelia Earhart
Betty FordEpiscopalian
Helen KellerSwedenborgian
Maria Montessori
Jane Roe
Margaret SangerAtheist
Valentina Tereshkova

The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World

Soure of list (except for religious affiliation column): The Australian Magazine, a supplement of the Weekend Australian, May 4-5, 1996.

RankName - Country, ageReligious Affiliation
1Benazir Bhutto - Pakistan, 42Islam
2Hillary Clinton - US, 48Methodist
3Queen Elizabeth II - UK, 70Anglican
4Margaret Thatcher - UK, 70 
5Alice Mitchell Rivlin - US, 65 
6Tansu Ciller - Turkey, 49 
7Gro Harlem Brundtland - Norway, 57 
8Wu Yi - China, 57 
9Germaine Greer - Australia, 57 
10Oprah Winfrey - US, 42Protestant
11Sadako Ogata - Japan, 68 
12Christine Todd Whitman - US, 49Presbyterian
13Anson Chang - Hong Kong, 55 
14Katharine Graham - US, 78Catholic
15Laura d'Andrea Tyson - US, 49 
16Rachel Lomax - UK, 50 
17Madeleine Korbel Albright - US, 58Episcopalian
18Tutut Suharto - Indonesia, 47 
19Aung San Suu Kyi - Burma, 50Buddhist
20Mary Robinson - Ireland, 51 
21Vidgis Finnbogadottir - Iceland, 66 
22Janet Reno - US, 58 
23Nafis Sadik - Pakistan, 61 
24Hanan Ashrawi - Palestine, 49 
25Queen Beatrix - The Netherlands, 58 
26Charlotte Beers - US, 59 
27Sheila Widnall - US, 58 
28Sheila Maureen Copps - Canada, 43 
29Nguyen Thi Binh - Vietnam, 69 
30Dianne Feinstein - US, 63Jewish
31Violeta Chamorro - Nicaragua, 65 
32Chandrika Kumaratunga - Sri Lanka, 50 
33Begum Khaleda Zia - Bangladesh, 50 
34Rita Sussmuth - Germany, 59 
35Mirjana Markovic - former Yugoslavia, 53 
36Christine Ockrent - France, 51 
37Sherry Lansing - US, 51 
38Gloria Steinem - US, 61half-Jewish; Feminist, Humanist
39Jodie Foster - US, 33
40Estee Lauder - US, 87Jewish
41Rosabeth Moss Kanter - US, 53 
42Pauline Green - UK, 47 
43Barbara Walters - US, 64 
44Sandra Day O'Connor - US, 66Episcopalian
45Anita Roddick - UK, 53 
46Ruth Bader Ginsburg - US, 63Jewish
47Nadine Gordimer - South Africa, 73
48Tina Brown - US, 42 
49Princess Diana - UK, 34Anglican
50Susanna Agnelli - Italy, 73 
51Carol Bellamy - US, 54 
52Liliana Ferraro - Italy, 52 
53Carol Galley - UK, 47 
54Madonna - US, 38Catholic; Kabbalah
55Countess Marion Donhoff - Germany, 86 
56Jana Wendt - Australia, 39 
57Sylvia Toth - The Netherlands, 52 
58Imelda Marcos - Philippines, 67 
59Queen Sirikit - Thailand, 63Buddhist
60Irene Pivetti - Italy, 33 
61Cheryl Kernot - Australia, 47 
62Catherine Bertini - US, 46 
63Ritt Bjerregaard - Denmark, 54 
64Elizabeth Dole - US, 59Presbyterian
65Elizabeth Dowdeswell - Canada, 50 
66Takako Doi - Japan, 67 
67Anita DeFrantz - US, 43 
68Donna Karan - US, 47 
69Miriam Defensor Santiago - Philippines, 51 
70Helen Gurley Brown - US, 74 
71Elisabeth Guigou - France, 49 
72Janet Holmes a Court - Australia, 52 
73Bodil Nyboe Andersen - Denmark, 55 
74Heide Simonis - Germany, 52 
75Jutta Limbach - Germany, 61 
76Hanna Suchocka - Poland, 50 
77Wandira Kazibwe - Uganda, 42 
78Simone Veil - France, 68 
79Jennie George - Australia, 48 
80Rosalyn Higgins - UK, 58 
81Dame Leonie Kramer - Australia, 71 
82Irene Saez - Venezuela, 34 
83Megawati Sukarno - Indonesia, 49 
84Erika Emmerich - Germany, 52 
85Dai Qing - China, 55 
86Sirkka Hamalainen - Finland, 57 
87Roseanne - US, 42Judaism; Latter-day Saint; Kabbalah
88Winnie Mandela - South Africa, 61 
89Xuxa - Brazil, 32Catholic
90Irina Khakamada - Russia, 40 
91Helen Clark - New Zealand, 46 
92Esther Koplowitz - Spain, 44 
93Alicia Koplowitz - Spain, 42 
94Tatyana Mitkova - Russia, 40 
95Ilda Boccassini - Italy, 46 
96Francoise Baree-Sinoussi - France, 48 
97Emily Lau - China, 43 
98Mother Teresa - India, 85Catholic
99Betty Boothroyd - UK, 66 
100Christy Turlington - US, 27 


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Research assisted by Dienae Hunter in June 2005.
Webpage created 10 June 2005. Last modified 3 December 2005.

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