Your millennium
BBC News Front Page >>

In November we asked you to vote for the greatest woman of the last thousand years. We asked the views of UK cabinet minister Mo Mowlam and anti-landmine campaigner Jody Williams, who chose Emmeline Pankhurst and Eleanor Roosevelt respectively. But BBC News Online readers had other ideas.

It had been a close race at the beginning of the month but Indira Gandhi swept ahead to first place. Below is your top ten - and some of your comments.

Return to the winners

Indira Gandhi
 
Indira Gandhi was India's first female prime minister, who in 1971 led India in a war against Pakistan to separate East and West Pakistan and establish the nation of Bangladesh.

The only child of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India, Indira Gandhi joined the National Congress party and became active in India's independence movement. She was elected prime minister in 1966, serving three consecutive terms and elected to a fourth term in 1988 after a previous defeat.

Indira Gandhi was a popular yet controversial figure. When Sikh extremists continued to use terror to demand an independent state in Punjab she ordered an army attack on their refuge, the holiest Sikh shrine, 'Golden Temple' in Amritsar. The attack in June 1984 killed 450 people.

Five months later Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards in revenge.

Your Top 10 Greatest Women:
1. Indira Gandhi
2. Elizabeth I
3. Mother Teresa
4. Marie Curie
5. Margaret Thatcher
6. Joan of Arc
7. Emmeline Pankhurst
8. Everywoman
9. Aung San Suu Kyi
10. Eleanor Roosevelt
What you have said:
A woman who was widowed in her prime, Indira Gandhi showed extreme composure and presence of mind. She was a true feminist to the core, a woman of substance who helped the country to tide through a testing phase, possessed all the virtues of a woman and fought valiantly for women's rights in a man's world.
Khalid Ahmed

Indira Gandhi was a strong-willed woman who led one-fifth of the worlds population, democratically, non-aligned in a bi-polar world.
Mukesh Agarwal, Russia

Indira Gandhi was a dynamic leader and worked for the uplifting of India and its women.
Geetha Sankaran

Indira Gandhi's boldness during the emergency period is commendable and at that time lot of changes and improvements took place in the great nation of India.
Johnson Raju

Elizabeth I was only a girl when she took the throne of England. Against many adversaries she triumphed and made England into one of the strongest nations of her time.
James Jeffrey

At the beginning of Queen Elizabeth I's reign, England was nearly bankrupt, looked upon as a minor player in world affairs, prey to both France and Spain (especially the latter after Mary's disastrous marriage), no navy, no army to speak of. When she died, it was one of the most powerful nations on earth. She was also a woman in what was very much a man's world and excommunication by the Pope meant that English Catholics had the go-ahead to assassinate her without committing a sin - do I have to go on?
Susan Wakefield

Many have given themselves selflessly for the uplifting of people but few have succeeded like Mother Teresa in getting people to notice the plight of the downtrodden.
Kanshukan Rajaratnam, Zambia

Mother Teresa was the most extraordinarily selfless woman one can think of; somebody who devoted herself to the rest of humankind.
Nathan Subramanian

Marie Curie was an outstanding scientist who won two Nobel prizes in a time when women were not taken seriously.
Ruth Halliwell

Marie Curie made an outstanding contribution to science, a field that is still dominated by men.
Steve Clapcott

The first female prime minister in the UK, Margaret Thatcher set the political agenda for more than a decade. Even now, the long-term impact of her time in office is only beginning to be evaluated, and she is still capable of causing tremors in the political world.
Matthew Adams

The images of Aung San Suu Kyi's dignified yet determined resistance in the face of a terrifying opposition have been inspirational. She deserves both recognition and victory.
Martin Dart

Ringing in the new millennium | Back to the future | Witness | Speaking for the century | Millennium diaries | What happened next? | Review of the year | Your millennium | Talking Point