Guide to Women in Leadership
HEADS OF ASSEMBLIES
Prior to the 20th century
Prior to the introduction of parliamentary
Heads of State also often acted as
Head of the Assembly if any existed.
Listed are some of the women
who acted held this position.
664 Presiding over
the Synod of Whitby Abbess Hilda of Whitby and Hartlepool (United Kingdom)
657, she had founded a double monastery of both monks and nuns at Whitby.
She was a patroness of the arts and was a notable teacher, whose advice was
sought by Kings and Abbots alike. At the Synod of Whitby it
was decided that the Northombian Church it should follow the teachings
of the Roman Church rather than those of Celtic Irish Iona. Hilda
herself was, of course, sympathetic to the latter party, but she
accepted the council's ruling. After
her death, after a long and painful illness lasting some six years,
miracles were soon reported at her tomb. She was venerated as a saint
and her bones suitably enshrined. St.
Hilda was the daughter of Prince Hereric of Deira, and lived (614-680)
of River Nith
Abbess Elfleda of Whitby of the Synod (England)
She was the successor of
Abbess Hilda. Before that five Abbesses had been present at the Council of Becanfield in 694, where they
signed the decrees before the presbyters. Later Abbess also took titles from churches impropriated to
her house, presented the secular vicars to serve the parochial churches, and had
all the privileges of a landlord over the temporal estates attached to her abbey.
The Abbess of Shaftsbury held of the king by an entire barony, and by right of
this tenure had, for a period, the privilege of being summoned to Parliament.
1424-27 President of the Estate Generals
Yolande de Aragón
of Anjou and Provence
Titular Queen of Sicily,
Napoli, Jerusalem, and
Regent of Anjou and Provence
of Juan I, king of Aragón, she was initially called Violenta. Her father
was succeeded by Martin as king of Aragón. Her marriage to Louis II of
Anjou in 1400, who spent much of his life fighting in Italy for his
claim to the kingdom of Napoli. She was appointed guardian of her
son-in-law the Dauphin Charles who became Charles VII in 1422, but his
title was still challenged by the English and their Burgundian allies. In
this struggle, Yolande maneuvered to have the duke of Bretagne
break from an alliance with the English, and was responsible for the
Breton soldier, Arthur de Richemont, becoming the constable of France in
1425. Yolande's early and strong support of Jeanne d'Arc, when others
had reasonable doubts, suggests the Duchess' possible larger role in the
orchestrating the Maid's appearance on the scene. Her younger daughter, Yolanda, was married to the heir of Bretagne, her youngest
son René inherited Lorraine in 1431 and after her older son's Louis
III's death, and three years later he also became duke of Anjou and heir of
Sicily. She lived (1379-1442).
Presiding over the Hungarian
Queen Maria von Habsburg
1530 Presiding over the Austrian
17, she married King Lajos II Jagello of Hungary, who was 15. Four years
later, the Turks over-ran half his kingdom, including the capital,
Budapest. Louis was killed at the battle, and Maria fled west,
taking the Hungarian treasury with her. She acted as
regent, and she
called the Assembly which elected her brother, Archduke
Ferdinand von Österreich king
of Hungary. In 1530 she Presided over the Landtag in his name. Her brother, Karl V, appointed
her Governor of the Netherlands after the death of their aunt, Margaretha
and she was in office until 1555.
grand-daughter of Duchess Marie of Burgundy, had no children, and lived (1505-58).
Leader of the Council of Chiefs
Makea Takau Ariki
of Cook Islands
She was Ariki
of Roatonga and Aurua
Supreme High Chiefess of
President of the Executive Council
1891-1901.The Cook Islands federation lasted until 1901 when it was
incorporated into New Zealand.
In 1885 4 of the 5 high chiefs of Rorotonga were women. Queen Makea was married
to Chief Ngamaru Rongotini (d. 1903) and was succeded by son. She lived (circa 1845-1911)