Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher, who led the Conservative party to three election victories, won 28% of the total votesGetty Images

Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first and only female prime minister, has been voted the most influential woman for the past 200 years in a poll conducted by The Scottish Widows, ahead of Queen Elizabeth II, two-time Nobel Prize-winner Marie Curie and Princess Diana. Three from the royal family made the top 10.

The Scottish Widows Women of Influence listing of the most influential women in the past two centuries is based on an online survey of 2,004 UK adults from 2 October to 5 October by Opinium Research.

Thatcher, who led the Conservative party to three election victories, won 28% of the total votes. Curie was second followed by the Queen. Diana was third while women's rights campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst was fourth.

The top ten also featured three non-British names with Mother Teresa at number six with 13% votes. Popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey was 10th.

"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 are not just flashes in the pan," said historian and author Suzannah Lipscomb. She was hired by the firm to identify the women viewed by the British public as those who have shaped society throughout the past two centuries.

The poll also showed that men placed a higher value on "political influence", "charisma" and "having talent" than women do when judging the factor of influence. Women, on the other hand, were more likely to place emphasis on "demonstrating strong principles and values", "being strong-willed and driven" and "having compassion" as being important.

The poll featured top rank mentions of women from different fields. Aviation world's historic figure Amelia Earhart was named the most influential sportswoman, author Jane Austen topped the creative arts list, and actress Judi Dench was deemed the most influential performing artist.

Body Shop founder Anita Roddick was named the most influential businesswoman, Simone de Beauvoir the most influential female public intellectual and Kate Adie the most influential female journalist.

Scottish Widows was founded in 1815 to support women widowed in the Napoleonic Wars and sought to uncover the factors that people perceive make a women influential.

The results of the top 10 in the poll conducted in UK:

1. Margaret Thatcher

2. Marie Curie

3. Queen Elizabeth II

4. Diana, Princess of Wales

5. Emmeline Pankhurst

6. Mother Teresa

7. Florence Nightingale

8. Queen Victoria

9. Rosa Parks

10. Oprah Winfrey