Merkel is Forbes’ most powerful woman again, but Clinton is close behind

The Guardian


The two most powerful women in the world, first-placed Angela Merkel (right), and Hillary Clinton. Photo: Reuters

German chancellor Angela Merkel has topped the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women, but may have a fight on her hands to retain the title.

Former secretary of state and US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, at No 2, is “just a breath and a ballot away from the most powerful woman crown,” said the list’s compilers.


Five Chinese women made the list, including WHO chief and former Hong Kong health director Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, ranked 62, in her second appearance on the list.

The 2015 list also features newcomer Taylor Swift , at 25 the youngest on it, with the singer/songwriter placed at No 64.

Top ranked in the entertainment industry at 21 is Beyoncé, whose On The Run joint tour with her husband, Jay Z, grossed more than US$100m (HK$7.75 million) last year.

WHO chief Margaret Chan, ranked the 62nd most powerful woman in the world. Photo: AFP

The Forbes list is compiled using the criteria of money, media momentum, spheres of influence and impact.

While Merkel, 60, claims the top slot for the fifth year in succession, and has made the list 10 times over the past 12 years – nine of them as No 1 – she faces a stiff challenge in the future, said Forbes. “She could lose her title for the first time since 2010 to the one person with a credible and mathematical chance of ‘leading’ the world, Hillary Clinton.”

Clinton, 67, has appeared in the Forbes rankings every year since its 2004 launch, as senator, secretary of state, influential personality and now presidential hopeful.

The highest Chinese entrant on the list at 33 is 42-year-old Lucy Peng Lei, co-founder of the Alibaba Group and CEO of Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services.

China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan was ranked 68, billionaire developer Zhang Xin, cofounder of Soho China was 69th, and actress Yao Chen 82nd.

Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan was ranked 68th by Forbes. Photo: Reuters

Top-ranked billionaire is Oprah Winfrey, who has a personal net wealth estimated at US$3billion, and is placed at No 12. Her Harpo Productions company co-produced the awardwinning film Selma.

Anna Wintour, Condé Nast artistic director, is the top-ranked woman in media at No 28, with Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, at No 61, and list newcomer Katharine Viner, 44, the Guardian’s newly appointed editor-in-chief, at No 80.

Other newcomers include Ana Botín, 54, newly installed chair of Santander Group, Spain, who is ranked top woman in finance at No 18. Elizabeth Holmes, 31, described as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, who founded blood donor company Theranos and is now said to be worth an estimated US$4.6billion, also makes her debut and is ranked No 72.

This year, 17 women under the age of 45 made it onto the annual list.

“The current era of female empowerment is stronger and better than ever, and the growing number of younger influences on the list is enough proof that age is nothing but a number,”the list compilers said.

Top 10
1. Angela Merkel, German chancellor.

2. Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and US presidential candidate.

3. Melinda Gates, 50, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

4. Janet Yellen, 68, chair of the Federal Reserve in Washington.

5. Mary Barra, 53, CEO of General Motors.

6. Christine Lagarde, 59, managing director, International Monetary Fund.

7. Dilma Rousseff, 67, president of Brazil.

8. Sheryl Sandberg, 45, CEO of Facebook.

9. Susan Wojcicki, 46, CEO of YouTube.

10. Michelle Obama, 51, first lady, United States.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 May, 2015, 9:09am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 May, 2015, 9:45pm