Revealed: Top 10 world's most powerful women
Female leaders across a variety of sectors helping to crack the glass ceiling
1. Angela Merkel
\nGermany’s chancellor, and the leader of Europe’s largest economy, is facing a number of new challenges. Her powers of negotiation are being put to the test by Greece’s new anti-austerity goverment, and she is also trying to use her position to deter Russia’s threats to Ukraine, and to combat ISIL. Merkel was elected as Germany’s first female chancellor in 2005, making her the longest-serving elected EU head of state.
2. Janet Yellen
\nYellen is the first woman to head the most influential central bank in the world - the US Federal Reserve.
\nShe took over from Ben Bernake in February 2014, and aims to make America’s economy “compatible with values rooted in our nationa’s history, among them the high value... placed on equality of opportunity.”
\nThe first female Fed chairman, Janet Yellen’s policies will do much to determine how the global economy fares this year. So far, she has indicated that she will continue to ease up the Fed’s bond-buying programme, a decision that has already had a significant effect on emerging markets.
3. Melinda Gates
\nWith an endowment of $43.5bn, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest philanthropic organisations on the planet. Gates, alongside husband Bill, continues to work on numerous causes that help combat diseases like HIV/AIDS, polio and tuberculosis. Much of her work is also now focused on the reproductive health of women.
4. Dilma Rousseff
\nIt could have all been very different for Dima Rousseff this year. In October 2014 she narrowly won Brazil’s presidential campaign, securing 51 percent of the votes in the closest election since 1989. Her popularity suffered after controversy over spending at the 2014 World Cup, but she remains the leader of the $2.2 trillion economy - the seventh largest in the world.
5. Christine Lagarde
\nOne of the most recognisable names in finance, Lagarde is the first woman to run the 188-country International Monetary Fund. She was appointed in 2011, and has frequently flirted with controversy, including allegations of misuse of powe and her ‘payback’ comments over Greece. Lagarde was the first female finance minister of a G8 country (France) and she also served as chairman of Baker & McKenzie.
6. Hillary Clinton
\nCould there be a presidential bid in the offing? Nothing has been officially announced, but Clinton is hot favourite to go on the 2016 campaign trail. The former First Lady and former Secretary of State scores well in opinion polls, with 57 percent of Americans having a favourable opnion of her, suggesting a run a the top job could see her become the fist female president of the US.
7. Mary Barra
\nThe CEO of General Motors was appointed to the position in January 2014, making her the first woman to head a Big 8 automaker. Aiming to regain customer trust after a 30-million-car recall, Barra has led GM into the smart age, announcing a 2017 Cadillac that drives itself.
8. Michelle Obama
\nHer husband’s presidency may be drawing to an end, but the First Lady continues to make an impact on the world stage. Obama has used her position for good, serving as a role model for women and an advocate for health, civil rights, and poverty awareness.
9. Sheryl Sandberg
\nReported to be worth more than $1bn, the COO of Facebook has become an icon for women not just in technology, but business in general. Her best-selling book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead has become essential reading for females in the workplace.
10. Virginia Rometty
\nThe boss of IBM has had a tough time over the past couple of years, with ten consecutive quarters of revenue declines. But Rometty doesn’t give up easily, and she has led a number of initiatives to boost profit margins, including shedding services, and the announcement of a new partnership with Apple, plus expanded ties with SAP. Her overhaul of the company may also include spending $1.2bn on IBM’s cloud-computing business.