Can a woman rule? This was the question at hand in the lecture “Can a woman rule? Can a woman rule alone? The case for Elizabeth I” hosted by the GS Department of History on Thursday, March 12 in the interdisciplinary building.
Carole Levin, a professor at the University of Nebraska and author of various books about Queen Elizabeth I, was the guest lecturer at the event. Levin used the history of Queen Elizabeth I’s life and journey to power as an influence on the question of can women rule?
Before delving into the life of Queen Elizabeth I, Levin discussed women who have recently run for positions of power. This included women from Victoria Woodhull, the first women to run for president, to Hilary Clinton, the first women to run for a major party.
Levin took the audience on a journey through Elizabeth I life to give a better explanation of how she became and remained a strong ruler. Levin explained Elizabeth knew as a young girl that having her voice heard would not be easy, especially since her father, King Henry VIII, was convinced women cannot rule.
In Elizabeth’s era, it was the firstborn son who was first in line to the throne. This would mean that she would be third in line behind her younger brother and older sister. Elizabeth rose to power after the death of her siblings.
Elizabeth’s reign lasted 45 years and can be defined as was one of the greatest rulers and reigns. She did this by working for what’s best for her people. Elizabeth never married or had kids but instead said that she wed her kingdom and was the mother to her people.
Levin explained that Elizabeth reigned with a fierceness that made her a model of what a powerful woman can be.
Carli Hendrix, an international studies major, said, ” We all know that Queen Elizabeth I was a great ruler, but this lecture really explained why and how she was. It also showed how she has influenced women to be powerful leaders.”
So can women rule? If we’ve learned anything from Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, yes they can.
Levin shared that we are starting to see a tradition of great female rulers, and how she hopes we can continue to see this tradition flourish.