Margaret Thatcher has been voted the most influential woman of the past 200 years, but not in Scotland, where Marie Curie is considered to hold the accolade.

Nicola Sturgeon has been placed at being the fourth most influential woman in politics behind the late Baroness Thatcher, the Queen, and German head of state Angela Merkel, a study claims.

The survey was carried out by insurer Scottish Widows to mark its bi-centenary.

The firm employed historian and author Suzannah Lipscomb to identify the women viewed by the British public as those who have shaped society throughout the past two centuries.

The survey of 2,000 respondents across all ages, genders and regions considered the women who have had the greatest influence across various categories ranging from geopolitics to science and technology.

HeraldScotland:


Baroness Thatcher, who stepped down as Prime Minister on November 28 1990, was top, but in Scotland she comes in at number two, with Marie Curie taking the lead spot. 

Polish-born Curie was the first woman to teach at the esteemed Sorbonne in Paris, and received two Nobel Prizes - one for physics in 1903 and a second for chemistry in 1911.

Her research was vital in the development of X-rays in surgery.

During World War One Curie helped kit out ambulances with this equipment, which she then drove herself as part of the war effort. 

Her inspiration led to the first Marie Curie home for cancer patients to be opened in 1952, based in an old property called the Hill of Tarvit in Cupar, Fife.

Emmeline Pankhurst, the great Suffragette, was fifth in the UK list but third in Scotland.

The researchers also claimed royal women are considered more influential than innovators, scientists, and politicians.

Ms Lipscomb said: "The top 10 are an impressive list of women – each of them was or has been responsible for or overseen real change, but in addition nearly every one of them has some symbolic importance beyond their own person.

“What's evident overall is that the women chosen as the top of each category - and in our list of top 10 - are not flashes in the pan."

Jackie Leiper, of survey commissioner Scottish Widows, said: "The results reflect the changing face of women in the workforce.

HeraldScotland: Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

She added that in centuries past women were "largely excluded from the workforce, couldn’t vote and had no right to own their own property".

HeraldScotland: Militant suffragette and mother-of-five Emily Pankhurst (1858-1928) was the cause of much heated discussion at Devizes Literary and Scientific Institution – a place now much more likely to host discussions on domino, cribbage and pool tactic

She said: "We are proud to reflect on the vast evolution of female empowerment during the past two centuries, brought to life by this list of influential females and the values that people feel give them that prominence.”

HeraldScotland: The Queen

The study by Scottish Widows also sought to uncover the factors that people perceive make a woman influential. Respondents were asked to select from a list of key attributes those that were most likely to make a woman influential.

HeraldScotland: CLOSURE CRITIC: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the reports "confirm the government's view". Picture: Marc Turner
A far higher proportion of young people believed "having ambition" is a determining factor of a woman’s influence (27 per cent of 18-24 year-olds against 9 per cent of 55-64 year-olds) whereas older generations believed "having compassion" is more important (a quarter of over 65s selected this trait, against 16 per cent) of 18-24 year-olds.

TOP 10 MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN
1.    Margaret Thatcher (28%)
2.    Marie Curie (24%)

HeraldScotland: X-ray

3.    Queen Elizabeth II (18%) 
4.    Diana, Princess of Wales (17%)

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5.    Emmeline Pankhurst (16%)
6.    Mother Teresa (13%)

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7.    Florence Nightingale (12%)
8.    Queen Victoria (8%)
9.    Rosa Parks (7%)
10.    Oprah Winfrey (6%)

TOP 10 MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN ACROSS SCOTLAND
1.    Marie Curie (29%)
2.    Margaret Thatcher (24%)
3.    Emmeline Pankhurst (17%)
4.    Queen Elizabeth II (16%)
5.    Mother Theresa (14%)
6.    Florence Nightingale (11%)
7.    Diana, Princess of Wales (11%)
8.    Rosa Parks (11%)
9.    Angela Merkel (8%)
10.    Queen Victoria (7%)