Merkel tops Forbes' list of powerful women

Updated: 2013-05-24 07:16

By Agencies in New York and Beijing (China Daily)

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Merkel tops Forbes' list of powerful women

First lady Peng Liyuan featured for the first time, along with 8 other Chinese

German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped Forbes' list of the world's most powerful women for the third consecutive year, followed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the magazine said on Wednesday.

They were followed by Melinda Gates, who co-chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with her billionaire philanthropist husband, United States first lady Michelle Obama and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

China's first lady Peng Liyuan, the wife of President Xi Jinping, was also included in the list for the first time.

Among the 15 newcomers on this year's list are South Korean President Park Guen-hye (No 11); Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson (No 34); Tory Burch, CEO of her eponymous company (No 69); Spanx founder Sara Blakely (No 90) and Baidu CFO Jennifer Li (No 98).

The annual list includes influential women in global politics, business, media, entertainment, technology and non-profits - ranking them by "money, media presence and impact", according to the business magazine.

"The rise of personal brands and entrepreneurial endeavors among this year's Power Women are exciting trends as we mark our 10th year of publishing the list," said Moira Forbes, president and publisher of ForbesWoman.

"From Singapore to Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom to the United States and beyond, the 100 influential women on our list are making an indelible and lasting impact on the world we live in," she said in a statement.

Merkel has made the list eight times out of the past 10 years, seven times at No 1, Forbes said.

Forty percent of the women on the list represent "female firsts", such as African head of state (Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf), billionaire to sign The Giving Pledge (Sara Blakeley), and CEO at IBM (Ginni Rometty), according to the magazine.

High-ranking businesswomen on the list include Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman (No 15) as well as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (No 6) and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer (No 32).

The 24 CEOs on the list lead firms with a combined $893 billion in 2012 revenues, while the eight heads of state run countries with a combined GDP of $9.9 trillion, the magazine said.

In another measure of influence, the 100 women on the 2013 list have a combined Twitter following of more than 153 million, Forbes said.

Change agents

China's first lady Peng Liyuan was listed for the first time this year, taking her place on the list along with eight other prominent Chinese women. Most of the women selected come from leading companies.

There were six Chinese women on last year's list.

"We've selected women that go beyond the traditional taxonomy of the power elite (political and economic might). These change-agents are actually shifting our very idea of clout and authority and, in the process, transforming the world in fresh and exhilarating ways," Forbes said on its website about its criteria for selecting outstanding women.

Zhang Yuqiang, a researcher of international media studies at the Communication University of China, pointed out that Peng's appearance on the list stems partly from the world's attention to China.

"Moreover, the outstanding personal charisma of the first lady is also an important reason," Zhang added.

The nine Chinese women on the list "not only achieved huge success in their careers but also undertook social responsibilities, such as for their families" he said.

Businesswomen are booming not just in China but across Asia. "The whole region makes a strong showing, from China and Singapore to New Zealand and Thailand," the magazine said.

China Daily-AFP

Merkel tops Forbes' list of powerful women

(China Daily USA 05/24/2013 page 6)