Celebrating Women’s History Month: National Geographic Explorer Talks Egyptology and the Time When Women Ruled the World

Cappy Surette

by , Manager, External Communications at Disney Parks Experiences and Products and co-chair of the Veteran Business Employee Resource Group known as “Disney SALUTE”

Today, we are continuing our celebration of Women’s History Month, highlighting inspiring women who are breaking down barriers and paving the way for so many of us. 

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Kara Cooney. Kara is a professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA and was a featured speaker for the National Geographic Live Speaker Series events. She is the author of several books including “The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt” and “When Women Ruled the World,” focusing on the reigns of powerful ancient Egyptian queens. 

Dr. Kara Cooney Credit: Mikel Healey
Dr. Kara Cooney
Credit: Mikel Healey

During her National Geographic Live presentations, she brings audiences to a time in ancient history when women ruled the world. Often neglected in the history books, these women were considered exceptions to the rule, political pawns in a patriarchal society. But according to Dr. Cooney, their power and influence were undeniable. Throughout her presentations, she shares some illuminating insights on what we can learn from these women based on her research. 

A multifaceted professional, Kara is a professor, researcher, and writer and mentors graduate students out in the field. In a traditionally male dominated field, Kara is focused on increasing representation of women and historically underrepresented communities within the field of Egyptology. 

“In order to increase representation and truly become inclusive, I’ve taken the steps to start mentoring my students from the very beginning,” said Dr. Cooney. “It is important for us to make sure we make the field accessible to all, which is why I am leading a program at UCLA alongside Howard University and other HBCUs to bring more students of color and start training them in the Egyptian language so they can have a career in Egyptology.”

Dr. Kara Cooney examining a sarcophagus Credit: Marissa Stevens
Dr. Kara Cooney examining a sarcophagus
Credit: Marissa Stevens

Dr. Cooney has said she is pleased to see more women seeking careers in her exciting career field.  “Although it’s true that the humanities are not receiving the funding from universities like other professions, it is great to see that the field of Egyptology has now more women than ever, and I certainly hope that trend continues.” 

National Geographic image

“To learn more about how you can hear from National Geographic Explorers like Dr. Cooney in your city as part of the National Geographics Live 2022 North American Tour presented by Office Depot, we invite you to visit the website to find more information. 

Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog as we celebrate Women’s History Month and be sure to follow along on Disney Parks social media as we continue to bring you stories about the women who are paving the way for us all.