A Timeline of Women in Power From Ancient to Present Society

Image of the power of women as seen in the early 1900s. The photo is of suffrage activist, social reformer and missionary, and a striker during the garment strike. Taken in New York City.
Image of the power of women as seen in the early 1900s. The photo is of suffrage activist, social reformer and missionary, and a striker during the garment strike. Taken in New York City.
Photo Credit/ Library of Congress

From ancient warriors to modern scientists and civil rights activists, women, throughout the course of history, have been influential through their power and success in their leadership and studies, which has created long-lasting success and, also, influenced  civilizations worldwide.

Queen Boudicca 

Beginning in the ancient world, Queen Boudicca (30-60 AD) was the leader of the ancient
British Iceni tribe, and as a Celtic woman, she was trained as a warrior and leader. Boudicca
came into power when she married Prasutagus- the tribe’s king. However, not soon after, the
Romans seized their kingdom, attacked Boudicca, and violated her daughters.  Boudicca
then led a rebellion of the Iceni and members of other tribes against Roman rule and defeated
the Roman Ninth Legion. Boudicca is known as an independent figure who fought for her people’s justice.





Photo Credit/ Unknown Artist/Public Domain



Wu Zetian

Another strong ancient ruler, Wu Zetian (625-705 AD) was China’s first and only female empress.
She created a less corrupt government through her rule, restored China’s economy and culture, and
opposed aristocracy to support the lower class.  China’s land grew through her conquering of territories.
Many considered her more powerful than her husband as she was driven towards changing China for the better.
She promoted arts and literature, initiated campaigns to raise the position of women, and supported women’s rights.




Portrait of Anne Boleyn (between 1584 and 1603). Copy from a lost original at the National Portrait Gallery, London


Anne Boleyn

In the middle ages, Anne Boleyn (1500-1536) was the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. Many credit Anne as
leading England’s break with the Roman Catholic Church in 1533 because of Henry’s desire to pursue Anne and divorce
his current wife, Katherine of Aragon.

Many made out Boleyn as a social climber and desperate for power, yet many only know part of the story. Many years before,
Anne had been advanced by the king yet denied. Anne aided in proposing the Poor Law, which described that local officials
must provide free health-care and find work for unemployed citizens.

Only recently was she credited for the passing of this law. Her story has been wrong for years; she was described as a witch
when she was a hard-working political woman who wanted to create change for people experiencing poverty.



Unknown Artist


Dorthea Dix

In the middle nineteenth century, Dorthea Dix (1802- 1887) is known for her activism on asylum and prison reform.
Dix traveled far and wide to prisons and jails. In various articles, she exposed the conditions of these asylums.
Due to her endeavors, she caused every state in the United States to give land, money, and attention to the creation and
improvement of insane asylums.





Portrait of Marie Sklodowska-Curie, circa 1900. Source: jasminkellner.com


Marie Curie


In the early 1900s Marie Curie (1867-1934), a physicist and chemist, was the scientist who advanced
the field of radioactivity and X-rays as we know them today. Not only did she become the first woman
ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize in Physics (1903), she became the first person ever to win it twice (1911).
Marie Curie’s efforts and sacrifices in her field helped advance radiology and medicine today.





Michelle Obama, official White House portrait. (2009)


Michelle Obama

In the present day, Michelle Obama (1964-present) was the first black first lady of us during Barack Obama’s
presidency from 2009-2017. She focused on healthy living and education. In 2018, she announced the first project
with The Obama Foundation- called “The Girls Opportunity Alliance” (empowering adolescent girls through education).
Michelle Obama helped advocate for healthcare, veterans, education, and healthy families throughout Obama’s presidency.
She states, “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”

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About the Contributor
Jane Quinn
Jane Quinn, Staff Reporter
I am a senior at Regina Dominican. I am interested in pursuing history, politics, and graphic design in college. This is my first year at Regina. I grew up in Rhode Island but moved to Chicago at 10 years old. I am currently involved in softball and volleyball, and have gotten the opportunity to coach young softball players as well. In my free time, I enjoy playing guitar and going to the beach.

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