*This article contains spoilers for the Dune movies and books.I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.Every person who has read Frank Herberts Dune books or watched the adaptations by David Lynch (1984), Syfy (2000) or the recent Denis Villeneuve one is familiar with this Litany Against Fear. In a way, it is the cornerstone of the world of Dune, which is one of the most stellar works of science-fiction ever created, inspiring other famed creations like George Lucas Star Wars. Given the hype around Villeneuves recent adaptation, starring Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skaarsgard, Josh Brolin and Dave Bautista, many who have never come across the books are picking up the Dune series. The Litany Against Fear is popping up as peoples new mantra or status updates.But a major problem that has been seen with the renewed popularity of the Dune books and movie adaptations is the assumption that its all about Paul Atreides, a hero with what is known as a white saviour complex. Little do the Dune novices know that Herbert created Dune as a warning against charismatic leaderslike Paul, like Hitler, or every other male charismatic leader who has ever gained control over a large populace. Whats more, instead of revolving around a male character or characters, Dune is centred around a spice called melange, those who control it, and women who know how to use it the best.In fact, the Litany that is now on the lips of every new Dune fan or viewer was actually created by a group of women in the Dune world, known as the Bene Gesserit. This is precisely the reason why I believe that the women in Dune are the real movers and shakers of this futuristic feudal universe. Heres what you too should know about the power of these Dune women.Understanding The Dune WorldIn case youre not familiar with Dune, heres what you should know. The story is set centuries in the future, where humankind has left Earth and spread to the farthest reaches of the known universe. This human expansion was guided by machines and robots, and quite in Terminator-Skynet style, they sought to eliminate humanity or control it. The humans led a Butlerian Jihad against the machines, destroyed them all, and regressed to a feudal type of universe where machines, cyborgs and computers were not allowed.So how did the humans travel through space and make any progress at all? Through a spice called melange, which is only found on one planet: Arrakis, or Dune. Imperial houses that control Arrakis therefore are considered to be the most powerful in the known universe. The first Dune book, and Villeneuves recent movie, start when House Harkonnen is replaced by their long-standing enemies, House Atreides, as the people in control of Arrakis and the natives of the planet, the Fremen. Now, lets take a look at the women who stand out in this story.The Woman Who Made Dune PossibleLady Jessica Atreides, at first glance, is just a concubine to the leader of the Atreides and mother to Paul. But soon into the story, you realise that shes the main reason why the events of Dune even transpired. Lady Jessica was trained by the women-run Bene Gesserit, who also instructed her to bear only daughters to the Atreides, with the intention that a daughter could be wed to the Harkonnen male heir, mixing two powerful gene pools to create the ultimate man, a messiah, or Kwisatz Haderach. But Jessica had the courage to fall in love with Duke Leto Atreides, and fulfil his desire for a son by birthing Paulan event that dismantled the Bene Gesserits plans and escalated the events of the story.But Lady Jessicas role isnt limited to birthing Paul and being his mother. Shes the one who dares to go against the Bene Gesserit and trains him in voice modulation, thought control and even teaches him how to fight. Once in Dune, she teaches the same methods to the native Fremen, empowering them further to fight against their oppressors. By the middle of the Dune book, she goes through a process called the spice change, becomes the matriarch of the Fremen, and therefore the most powerful woman on the planet.The Bene Gesserit Way Of LifeHeres what Dr Kara Kennedy, one of the few women experts on Dune in the world, had to say about the feudal system in the books: This is a hierarchical world with dukes, counts, barons, and an emperor at the top. It is not a place where we would expect to see equality of any kind, including gender equality. Yet there exists a faction of women with significant influence: the Bene Gesserit. The Bene Gesserit are a sisterhood of women who, by utilising melange, manage to control everything from their own muscles, body and mind, other peoples minds, and the entire human gene pool.This group of women, led by the Reverend Mothers, have such a high degree of embodied agency that they not only indirectly control the Dune universe, but also outlast all male-dominated, feudal and technological systems throughout the entire book series. Kennedy believes that Herberts creation of the Bene Gesserit was fuelled by the womens movements in the 1960s and 1970s, which focused on getting women their rights and autonomies over their own bodies. The Bene Gesserit women thus exude the confidence, intelligence and power that all women aspire to have.Chani And The Fremen WomenChani Kynes, played by Zendaya in the movie, is a Fremen woman with whom Paul falls in love with. At first glance, Chani and the other Fremen women might remind you of the Dothraki from Game of Thrones. But in fact, thats a very superficial similarity born out of the fact that both the Fremen and the Dothraki survive in a harsh world. In Dune, the Fremen are natives who learn to survive without water, creating nomadic sort of tribes or sietch which not only have male leaders like Javier Bardems Stilgar, but also Sayyadinas or women leaders. In fact, all Fremen women know how to fight just so they can survive the harsh realities of the world they live in. They are fiercely independent and at the same time hold immense ritualistic power too. These are resourceful and powerful women in their own right, and Chani, as a key player in the story, proves it.Alia, Ghanima And More To ComeWhile Villeneuves Dune only focuses on the first half of the first Dune book, there are more powerful and inspiring women to look forward to. Leading this list is Alia Atreides, Pauls sister. Alia is, in fact, pre-born, because Lady Jessica goes through the spice change while her daughter is still in the womb. This makes Alia a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother right from birth, making her a unique and powerful creature. She proves by the end of the first book that shes second to nobody, not even Paul, by getting vengeance for all the Atreides (some things just shouldnt be spoiled, so thats all Ill say). In Pauls absence, Alia is the ruler of Arrakis in the subsequent books.But the line of powerful women in Dune does not end with Alia and Lady Jessica. Pauls daughter Ghanima holds immense power in her hands, and so does Princess Irulan, Pauls wife and another Bene Gesserit. In the later books, Siona Atreides and the Fish Speakers (another sisterhood of women) are also shown as conduits of power with remarkable agencies. Thousands of years into the future of Dune, we also come across women like Darwi Odrade of the Bene Geserit and the Honoured Matres, who show how sisterhoods can survive where male-dominated galactic empires and cults cant. In that sense, the power of women in Dune lies in the basic fact that, by the virtue of womanhood, they are resourceful, confident, intelligent and simply brilliant.