Fierce female rulers from completely different worlds have conquered the world. Women of the same spectrum like Cleopatra and Benazir Bhuttocould put entire militaries and fleets into motion. Who were these great women and what can we learn from their amazing achievements?
Hatshepsut of Egypt: (1479 – 1457 BC) “The Perfect Goddess”
She was the first female pharaoh of Egypt. She remained in power for 20 years and during this time, Egypt’s economy prospered as she expanded trading relations and built and restored magnificent temples. Art and culture advanced as the young ruler encouraged the beauty of both the written and painted art.
Strengths: She focused more on economic advances instead of expanding the lands like previous monarchs, which helped strengthen Egypt and shows how wise she really was, fortifying Egypt economically rather than attempting to conquer neighbouring territories.
Weaknesses: Hatshepsut had to dress as a man and wear a fake beard in order to assert her authority because society was very patriarchal, even though there were a lot of respectable women around who could be fit to rule just like Hatshepsut.
Cleopatra of Egypt: (69BC to 30BC)“Queen of The Nile”
She was probably the most prominent Queen of Egypt even though many people don’t know that she wasn’t technically Egyptian but rather Greek. Her love story with Marc Anthony and Julius Caesar was so poignant that Shakespeare wrote a play about it. But what was she like while ruling? It was said that Cleopatra attempted to rule on her own but was pushed out of power by the ministers.
Strengths: She was an incredibly brave and ruthless leader, putting her country first and attempting to rule both Egypt and Greece in a joint state, which was near impossible. Cleopatra ruled alone, refusing help from any minister or any man in her family because she believed that women were as equal as men in anything and could handle ruling a country.
Weaknesses: She attempted to capture the hearts of two men and ended up with none in the end. It was said she “captivated the two greatest Romans of her day and because of the third she destroyed herself”.
Shagaret Al Dorr of Egypt: (1220-1259)
Shagaret Al Dorr, whose name translated in English means the “tree of pearls”, was married to King Al Saleh Ayoub. Al Saleh Ayoub died in one of the crusades that were attacking Egypt. After the news that the king was dead spread across, she asked Ayoub’s son to come rule but he was a terrible ruler, completely irresponsible, so she had him killed and declared herself Sultana of Egypt. She was pressured later on to get married so she chose Ezz El Din Aybak, one of the Mameluks as a husband, because she knew he was a weak person and she could control him.
Strengths: Shagaret El Dorr hid the news of her husband’s death and headed the army herself, pretending the King was alive. She was incredibly astute, choosing to marry Ezz El Din Aybak only because she knew he had an easily controllable personality that she could manipulate and thus remain the only monarch of Egypt.
Weakness: She let her pride and her ego get to her head. In becoming the only ruler of Egypt and extremely conceited, she got a lot of enemies especially women who she had been friends with before she got all the power and supremacy. Because of her egotistical ways and the fact that she’d let her authority get to her head, she was beaten to death with clogs.