I’ve found it interesting that women monarchs have ushered in, or kept momentum going, at the golden ages of different empires. Cairo marked a rise to economic and political power during the era of the crusades with the “Sultan” of Egypt, Shagrat al-Durr. Empress Wu kept the Tang Dynasty’s beginning of a golden age in China moving forward and solidified a foundation for continued Tang success. Maria Theresa styled herself as Holy Roman Empress and instituted a period of reform and economic expansion when she took the Austrian throne. And, perhaps most famously, the policies of Queen Elizabeth I brought a golden age to the British Empire.
Of course, women aren’t necessarily better rulers than men. And from a moral standpoint nearly all monarchs in times past did ruthless and blood-thirsty things to maintain power (for some reason, though, we castigate women for it more). Mary, Queen of Scots is an example of how women can squander their power as effectively as men. But many among the few examples in history of women monarchs serve to point out that women aren’t necessarily worse rulers than men just because they’re women.
Tags: Women’s History Month, Shagrat al-Durr, Empress Wu Tang Dynasty, Mormon feminism,
Elizabeth I British Empire, women monarchs