Forbes Names Angela Merkel Most Powerful Woman

NEW YORK – Forbes has released its 2016 list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at No. 1.   There has been an influx of women elected to office in the past year, and the number of women leaders in the world has more than doubled since 2005.  As a result, nearly a third of the women on this year’s list lead a nation or play a pivotal role in calling the shots in their country. Together, this elite group governs or directly influences more than 3.6 billion people.

The 100 most powerful women represent seven categories or power bases: billionaires, business, finance, media, politics, philanthropists and NGOs, and technology. The entertainment category has been removed this year, making room for a wider inclusion of female leaders across the globe who have been elected to office.  The 2016 ranking includes several recently elected female leaders, evidence of the growing number of women who are winning national elections in countries around the world, including Taiwan, Nepal, Croatia, and Scotland.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel retains the top spot on the list for the sixth consecutive year and eleven times in total.  She is followed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (No. 2), U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (No. 3.), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair, Melinda Gates, (No. 4) and General Motors CEO Mary Barra who remains in the No. 5 spot. 

Among the 20 newcomers on this year’s list are CEO, Lens Technology Zhou Qunfei; President, Taiwan Tsai Ing-Wen (No. 17) and Editor-in-Chief, The Economist, Zanny Minton Beddoes (No. 78). Notable drop-offs include Elizabeth Holmes, Founder & CEO, Theranos and Dilma Rousseff,36th President, Brazil.

The United States represents 51 women on the list, followed by China in a distant second with 9 women on the list, China’s highest showing since the list’s inception.  This year’s Power Women control nearly $1 trillion in revenues.  Forbes uses four metrics to determine this list: money (personal fortune, company sales, national GDP); media presence; influence exerted across multiple spheres; and success at implementing change within one’s organization, company or country.

The list is featured in the June 21 issue of Forbes magazine.

Forbes’ Top 20 World’s Most Powerful Women:

RANK NAME TITLE, COUNTRY
1 Angela Merkel Chancellor, Germany
2 Hillary Rodham Clinton Presidential Candidate, U.S.
3 Janet Yellen U.S. Federal Reserve Bank Chair, U.S.
4 Melinda Gates Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S.
5 Mary Barra CEO, General Motors, U.S.
6 Christine Lagarde Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, U.S.
7 Sheryl Sandberg COO, Facebook, U.S
8 Susan Wojcicki CEO, YouTube, U.S.
9 Meg Whitman CEO, HP, U.S.
10 Ana Patricia Botín Chair, Santander Group, Banco Santander
11 Ginni Rometty CEO, IBM, U.S.
12 Park Geun-hye President, South Korea
13 Michelle Obama First Lady, U.S.
14 Indra Nooyi CEO, PepsiCo, U.S.
15 Angela Ahrendts Senior Vice President, Apple, U.S.
16 Abigail Johnson CEO, Fidelity Investments, U.S.
17 Tsai Ing-Wen President, Taiwan
18 Michelle Bachelet President, Chile
19 Federica Mogherini Foreign Policy Chief, European Union, Italy
20 Safra Catz Co-CEO, Oracle, U.S.