Queen of Egypt When women ruled the world

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Queen of Egypt When women ruled the world

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In one place on our planet thousands of years ago, against all the odds of the male-dominated system in which they lived, women ruled repeatedly with formal, unadulterated power. 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. Most of these women ruled as Egyptian god-king incarnate, not as the mere power behind a man on the throne. Six of them—Merneith, Neferusobek, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, Tawosret, and Cleopatra—climbed the highest and wielded the most significant power, not as manipulators of their menfolk, but as heads of state. Each started as a queen—a sexual vessel of their king—but each became the chief decision- maker, and five of them served as king outright. Though each woman must have had the gravitas, skill, intelligence, and intuition to rule, each was also put in power by an Egyptian system that needed her rule. But this story conceals some darker twists and turns. These Egyptian women were power brokers, to be sure: educated for complex tasks and supreme leadership, ready to hold the highest position, able to see and move the pieces on the board. But viewed through another lens, they were utterly powerless, pawns of a patriarchal system over which they had no control and could never hope to alter in the long term. Allowed into positions of real and formal authority, in the end their power was a short-term illusion each time it occurred.


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