book hack

When Women Ruled the World

Kara Cooney

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

Egyptologist Kara Cooney examines the lives of six female pharaohs in ancient Egypt, shedding light on the relationship between women and power in history and today.


When Women Ruled the World

When Women Ruled the World

by Kara Cooney


We often make the mistake of thinking history is linear, always progressing toward more liberty and equality. Yet female leaders are rare today, while in ancient Egypt queens regularly ruled with great success.

Women have been used as pawns in male-dominated schemes throughout history, but ancient Egypt is a fascinating exception, ruled by powerful and uncompromising queens. In her account of six Egyptian pharaohs, from Nefertiti to Cleopatra, author and Egyptologist Kara Cooney explores feminist ideas through the lens of history. When Women Ruled the World uses the powerful political queens of an ancient civilization to argue that women today should be closer to positions of power.

Favorite quote

Ancient Egypt is an anomaly as the only land that consistently called upon the rule of women to keep its regime in working order, safe from discord, and on the surest possible footing — particularly when a crisis was under way.

- Kara Cooney

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