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1. Angela Merkel
\nGermany’s chancellor again takes the top spot. As leader of Europe’s largest economy, she is playing a vital role in shepherding the Eurozone out of recession. In last year’s election, Merkel led her coalition to a 41.5 percent landslide victory.
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2. Janet Yellen
\nChair, US Federal Reserve
\nThe first female Fed chairperson, 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.
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3. Dilma Roussef
\nIt’s a big year for the president of Brazil, the world’s seventh-largest economy. The Latin American giant plays host to the FIFA World Cup, and in two years time will also showcase the Olympics. In between, protest and worries about GDP growth are likely to dominate Roussef’s agenda.
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4. Christine Lagarde
\nManaging director, International Monetary Fund
\nManaging director, International Monetary Fund\nFrance’s former finance minister took the hotseat at the IMF in 2011, becoming the first woman to do so. She will be focusing on pushing global economic recovery in 2014; the IMF has projected 3.7 percent growth during that period.
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5. Sheryl Sandberg
\nChief operating officer, Facebook
\nThe most powerful woman in business, Sandberg’s leadership will play a huge role in the development of the world’s biggest social networking website. Facebook’s stock has improved since its woeful IPO two years ago, but there are concerns about competition and monetising its customer base.
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6. Melinda Gates
\nCo-founder, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
\nThe Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of almost $40bn, making it one of the largest philanthropic organisations on the planet. Alongside husband Bill, the founder of Microsoft, Gates is working hard to causes that help combat diseases like HIV/AIDS, polio and tuberculosis, as well as assisting educational and agricultural development.
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7. Hillary Clinton
\nFormer US Secretary of State
\nHillary Clinton may have stepped down from her role as one of America’s most popular diplomats after Barack Obama won a second term in the White House in 2012, but it seems more and more likely that she will run again for the presidency in 2016.
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8. Sonia Gandhi
\nPresident, Congress Party
\nThe widow of assassinated Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi heads up India’s biggest political dynasty and has served as president of the Congress Party for a record 10 years. Her influence will be crucial as India holds a general election in 2014.
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9. Michelle Obama
\nFirst Lady, United States
\nThe wife of US President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama slips down the list this year as her husband’s term in the White House enters its sixth year. She is an advocate for poverty awareness and nutrition, and has given several keynote speeches in support of her husband.
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10. Aung San Suu Kyi
\nChairperson, National League of Democracy, Burma
\nAung San Suu Kyi has done more than anyone to bring democracy to what was once one of the world’s most closed states. She will run for the presidency in Burma’s general elections in 2013.