One of the common things talked about among women of modern times is how they believe the world would be a better place if women ruled. “It’s been a man’s world for far too long,” they say. “Give the women a chance! We’ll definitely do a better job!”
There is no denying that it is indeed a man’s world. We live on a planet that has been forever ruled by men, and it really doesn’t look like that will be changing in the near future.
Yes, men have ruled the masses for centuries, if not millennia. They have led empires into insurmountable fortunes and then led them to despair and abolishment. They started grand scale conquests that carved their names into history and, at the same time accepted the death of millions for those conquests. They have spread their ethnicities across other empires and also approved slavery, harems, gladiator-ship and human trafficking.
Even in more recent history, male leaders across the globe have saved nations from wars and caused others. They have spared and killed thousands of lives, endorsed nations with knowledge and deprived others of basic human rights, and the proceedings, good and bad, go on and on. Examples are abundant, so naming leaders and situations in this case is quite unnecessary.
So, have male leaders throughout history done a good job? Well, that’s debatable. The simplest of conclusions is that they have and they have not.
Nevertheless, female pharaohs, empresses, queens and sultanas have a powerful presence in history that cannot be denied, despite the dominance of male rule. Even in this male-dominant world, women have occasionally made it to the throne. Examples are sporadic and infrequent, but they exist nonetheless. Extraordinary women the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi and Shagaret Al-Dorr have all carved their names on the pages of history with graceful power, avid courage and undeniable wisdom.Even in more ancient history, the names of Cleopatra, Hatshepsut and Tomyris remain unforgotten today. These achievers are simply incontrovertible parts of human history.
So let’s take a closer look at the reign of some of these remarkable women.
Hatshepsut’s reign is regarded by historians as one of the most successful in the entirety of human history. Hatshepsut was known as the Pharaoh who brought on an era of peace to Egypt. She re-established the trade networks between Egypt and neighbouring countries after the Hyksos occupation left them barren. She endorsed ambitious building projects that stand today as the most remarkable remnants of surviving history, the likes of the tallest obelisk on Earth and the magnificent Hatshepsut temple. She is also the name behind history’s famous mission to the Land of Punt, which bore the first recorded attempt to transplant foreign trees.
Hatshepsut is also known as the most accomplished pharaoh at promoting her own accomplishments. Her face was carved on every wall of every temple in the country, her statues chiselled and erected across the land. It is believed that Hatshepsut ordered so much statuary of herself that almost every major museum in the world has several artefacts of her in their collections. She was an achiever with excessive pride who spared no expense to praise her own triumphs.
On to another story…
The stories most commonly known about Cleopatra are those of seduction, allure and poisonous snakes, but this woman is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious leaders of ancient history. Her love for her country and her desire for its freedom from Roman rule were the core of her entire reign. She wanted to keep her land and her countrymen free from oppression, and she pursued that dream relentlessly. Her methods of making that dream a reality, however, were not the most noble. Her fierce ambition blinded her to the tactics that would ensure a prolonging success and, even though the country maintained its independence from Roman rule for a while, it was soon taken by Octavian by means of a war that left Alexandria drowning in its own blood and left Cleopatra captive in her own mausoleum.
What about more modern history?
Shagaret Al-Durr is one of the most prominent female names in Arab history. She is known as the woman, who concealed the death of her husband and fought the crusades against Egypt by Louis IV until they were defeated. She is also known as the woman who singlehandedly inauguratedthe Mamluk state that reigned the entirety of the southern Mediterranean for decades. After announcing her husband’s death, Shagaret Al-Durr married Ezz al-Deen Aybak and co-ruled the dynasty for years.
Shagaret Al-Durr was also a jealous woman who let her pride get the better of her by ordering the assassination of her own husband. This event eventually led to her own death at the hands of slaves and by the humiliating means of being beaten to death with their wooden clogs. Her half-naked body was then thrown into the moat of the citadel and left to rot.
Another undeniable example is Margaret Thatcher; the Iron Lady!This woman saved the United Kingdom from economic ruin and fiercely faced adversaries with smart tactics, patience and acumen. Her love for England was indisputable, and her statesmanship is one to be admired and taught for generations to come. But Margaret Thatcher and her policies have also led the Kingdom into years ofpoverty,increasing inflation rates and more than double unemployment percentages. She is also remembered for building strong restrictions against unions and their powers of expression. Margaret Thatcher was knows as an unsympathetic woman whose decision were inspired by numbers as opposed to the welfare of the people.
So, why am I telling these stories? These depicts of history go to say one thing; that female rulers make the same mistakes that male rulers fall into. They rise and fall, they support and oppress their people, they seek betterment of nations and they extort their powers.
To assume that women leaders will do a better job is naive. It is not gender that makes a good leader, but principles, plans, strategies, visions and policies. These attributes are all gender-blind. We may live in a man’s world, but a woman’s world might equally be filled with flaw.
Across history, the best leaders are those who strategized based on the betterment of their people. They were not favoured because they were men, or because they were women. In thinking that one gender makes a better ruler than the other, we are simultaneously endorsing inequality and heightening the imaginary mountain that already exists between us. Betterment comes from qualification. Period.
Ideally, this should not be a man’s or a woman’s world. It should be a human’s world!