Meet the most famous woman in the world
Immersed in tradition, shrouded in secrecy and born into a multimillion-pound lifestyle. This Royal way of life is unrelatable to most of us but add to that description daughter, sister, wife, mother and leader, then suddenly the Queens lifestyle becomes much more identifiable to every modern woman.
At the age of 25 she was thrust into service as the head of a nation and a leader of dozens more. She may be the epitome of the modern-day woman striving to lead in the workplace whilst still being a mother, daughter, wife and parent at home. Despite this, the Queens difficulty in championing women in a new world came with the bounds of tradition. As a Queen, she was to lead but not take action. Be strong but do not have a strong opinion. Care for people but without having an open dialogue with them, and because of these restrictions, the Queen becomes a distant figure to many people, so much so, even an unemotional figure, but being unemotional does not mean that you do not care.
Whilst the Queen’s duty was to be unbiased with her opinions and actions, she made her thoughts on gender equality apparent whenever she could, citing in 2011:
“The theme of this year is, ‘Women as Agents of Change’. It reminds us of the potential in our societies that is yet to be fully unlocked, and it encourages us to find ways to allow girls and women to play their full part. We must continue to strive in our own countries and across the Commonwealth together to promote that theme in a lasting way beyond this year.”
In 2013 she also gave royal assent to the Succession To The Crown Act, which enshrined an equal right to the throne to both sons and daughters.
In 2015 for the 100th annual meeting of the WI (Womens Institute) she said:
“In the modern world, the opportunities for women to give something of value to society are greater than ever, because, through their own efforts, they now play a much greater part in all areas of public life. In 2015 it continues to demonstrate that it can make a real difference to the lives of women of all ages and cultural backgrounds, in a spirit of friendship, cooperation and support.”
We may say that it was easy for a Queen to make these speeches and say these words because unlike everyday women she was born into fame and wealth with a Royal platform to communicate from, however, she still faced everyday issues like keeping her surname when marrying (which she did). These small details showed us that Queen Elizabeth potentially had a feminist mind restrained by tradition and Royal politics, and a person who had to be muted to a degree. Despite this she worked within her remit to quietly change the rules, advocate, and help women to thrive.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II has revived longstanding criticism over the monarchy’s enrichment from the British empire’s violent colonization of African, Asian and Caribbean nations and their diasporas.
There’s no hiding the fact that during Queen Elizabeths 63-year reign, women have come along leaps and bounds in society. Some more than others. Sure, the battle is still not over and we’re still fighting for equality, but we do have a strong weapon on our side, something the Queen didn’t have which was the freedom of speech and opinion combined with a power to use it at will. With this in our gift, women have managed to change the course of history over the last 63 years. Maybe the benefits of being born into a wealthy, Royal Family are not so beneficial compared to the power of free thought and open speech – something that the everyday woman can exercise in our part of the World.
If the Queen could make positive change for female leadership with just a few words, then so can every woman with a voice. (And don’t forget that every woman is a Queen too).