‘Most Powerful Women’ List Features Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton

The “Most Powerful Women” list published by Forbes magazine is dominated this year by media figures, businesswomen, and politicians with German Chancellor Angela Merkel taking the No. 1 slot.

The list named women involved in policymaking, entertainment, technology, and non-profit organizations, Reuters reported. Behind Merkel was US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, followed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The top three slots remained unchanged from 2011.

Rankings for the Most Powerful Women list were determined by influence, the amount of money the women controlled or earn, and media presence. Angela Merkel earned the top slot because of her work to preserve the European Union and her major role in the euro debt crisis.

“These power women exert influence in very different ways and to very different ends, and all with very different impacts on the global community,” said Moira Forbes, president and publisher of ForbesWoman.

Clinton was cited for the number of international crises she was able to control including the release of secret diplomatic cables from the anti-secrecy WikiLeaks, Reuters noted. Rousseff was cited for leading the world’s eighth-largest economy while holding high approval ratings.


The rest of the top five were Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and wife of Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates, and Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times. First Lady Michelle Obama, who was No. 1 on the Most Powerful Women list in 2010, took the No. 6 slot this year.

There were some newcomers to the list including actress Jennifer Lopez and Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

“So many of these women are in policy or political roles, and their influence … is only growing so it’s not surprising that someone like Merkel or Clinton would continue to be present on the list year to year,” Forbes said.

Aside from the Most Powerful Women list, Forbes also published a list of Women to Watch, those up-and-coming women who are gaining power and influence quickly. Included on that list were Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts, Spanx founder Sara Blakely, and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.