Most influential women of past 200 years revealed

Dec 1, 2015 at 7:01 a.m. ET
Image: WENN

Wherever your political loyalties lie there's no denying that former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made an enormous impact on the world. The "Iron Lady" has just been named as the most influential woman of the past 200 years, according to a U.K. poll.

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Insurer Scottish Widows, which was founded in 1815 to support women widowed in the Napoleonic Wars, collaborated with historian and author Suzannah Lipscomb to mark its 200-year anniversary by trying to identify which women were seen as having shaped society the most over the last two centuries.

Around 2,000 respondents of all ages, genders and regions chose between women from the worlds of politics and world affairs, journalism and broadcasting, and science and technology.

"The top 10 are an impressive list of women — each of them was or has been responsible for or overseen real change, but in addition nearly every one of them has some symbolic importance beyond their own person," said Lipscomb. "What's evident overall is that the women chosen as the top of each category — and in our list of top 10 — are not flashes in the pan."

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Aside from Baroness Thatcher, who was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century (from 1979 to 1990) and the only woman to date to have held the office, influential women in the list include Polish-born Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, whose research was vital in the development of X-rays in surgery; political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst; and African-American Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white person.

The top 10 most influential women of the past 200 years

1. Margaret Thatcher (28 percent)

2. Marie Curie (24 percent)

3. Queen Elizabeth II (18 percent)

4. Diana, Princess of Wales (17 percent)

5. Emmeline Pankhurst (16 percent)

6. Mother Teresa (13 percent)

7. Florence Nightingale (12 percent)

8. Queen Victoria (8 percent)

9. Rosa Parks (7 percent)

10. Oprah Winfrey (6 percent)

Do you agree with the top 10? Let us know in the comments below.

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