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Forbes ranks the world's 100 most powerful women

Forbes, one of the world's leading authorities on fortune, finance and business has compiled the rankings for the top 100 most powerful women in the world. This is no easy task. One does not simply submit a request to rank on this list. There are very stringent factors that determine entry onto the list and ranking from 100 to 1.

Some of the major categories listed as determining factors are money, media and impact on the world. Metrics were used to properly rank each woman according to her accomplishments.


  • Business, Media, Technology: Total company revenue and market value for the prior year.
  • Lifestyle: Salary as reported in the May 2012 FORBES Celebrity 100.
  • Politics: Country GDP according to the World Factbook.
  • Billionaires: Net worth as reported in the March 2012 FORBES World’s Billionaires list.
  • Nonprofits and NGOs: Money spent fulfilling each organization’s mission. (Forbes)


Comprised of news hits (Factiva) and TV and radio appearances (Nexis) from the past 12 months, plus social media presence: Facebook fans, Twitter followers and YouTube channel subscribers, all as of July 2012. (Forbes)


This includes the extent of their reach across industries, cultures and countries, the number of spheres of influence and people they affect and how actively they wield that power. (Forbes)

Here are the top 20. For the complete list, click on this link.

1. Angela Merkel - German Chancellor

2. Hillary Clinton - Secretary of State, United States

3. Dilma Rousseff - President of Brazil

4. Melinda Gates - Co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

5. Jill Abramson - Executive Editor, New York Times

6. Sonia Gandhi - President of India National Congress, India

7. Michelle Obama - First Lady, United States

8. Christine Lagarde - Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

9. Janet Napolitano - Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, United States

10. Sheryl Sandberg - Chief Operating Officer, Facebook

11. Oprah Winfrey - Television entrepreneur, Oprah Network

12. Indra Nooyi - Chairman and CEO, Pepsi

13. Irene Rosenfeld - Chairman and CEO, Kraft Foods

14. Lady Gaga - Musician, philanthropist

15. Virginia Rometty - President and CEO, IBM

16. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - President, Argentina

17. Ursula Burns - President and CEO, Xerox

18. Meg Whitman - CEO, Hewlett-Packard

19. Aung San Suu Kyi - Chair and Parliamentarian, National League for Democracy, Burma

20. Maria das Gras Silva Foster - CEO, Petrobras-Petroleo, Brazil



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