The 100 Most Powerful Women

Published: Sep 27, 2012 06:14:08 AM IST
Updated: Sep 27, 2012 02:43:35 PM IST

The 100 Most Powerful Women
1. Angela Merkel / 58

The world’s No. 1 Most Powerful Woman for the second year in a row, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the “Iron Lady” of the European Union and the lead player in the euro zone economic drama that continues to threaten global markets. As Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal have teetered on the brink of economic collapse, she has vowed to do everything in her power to preserve the 17-country EU. Merkel also called on international leaders to renew the Kyoto Agreement, a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases that she helped ratify as Germany’s environmental minister in the 1990s. She has been chancellor since 2005, and her recent public approval ratings soared to near 70%—a good sign leading into the general election in the autumn of 2013. Merkel is embracing the internet and last autumn launched a YouTube channel, Die Bundesregierung, where the chancellor directly answers citizens’ questions.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
2. Hillary Clinton / 64
Secretary of State

In keeping with her reputation as a no-nonsense diplomat, Hillary Clinton is spending her final months as Secretary of State far from the campaign trail. Much of that time has been on the go: This year alone, she’s travelled to 51 countries. The former presidential candidate has had a formidable past 12 months: She’s navigated treacherous territory when WikiLeaks released sensitive diplomatic cables in November, urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to hand over his power and leave his country, and recently warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to chart a different course from his militant father’s. And she went viral: The Tumblr blog “Texts From Hillary” became a popular meme in April. Clinton has steadfastly said that she plans to leave her post as diplomat-in-chief at the end of the year.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
3. Dilma Rousseff / 64

The president of the world’s eighth-largest economy is ambitious at the midpoint of her first term, launching two aggressive programmes meant to reverse the still strong but shrinking national GDP. Brazil Without Misery is a Great Society-style programme aimed at eradicating poverty and increasing access to education, medical care and public services, by 2014. A second initiative focuses on business growth and innovation, including incentives for micro- and small businesses. She tells Forbes, “What I want my legacy to be is this country to be increasingly middle class, to be highly competitive and highly educated.” A June poll put Rousseff’s approval rating at 77%, and she is predicted to win a second four-year term in 2014.

The 100 Most Powerful Women

4. Melinda Gates / 48
Co-chair,  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

When you have your name on top of the world’s wealthiest and most generous private foundation, challenging the Vatican to reverse its position against birth control makes news. Melinda Gates, a practicing Catholic, has vowed to dedicate her life—and a personal $560 million—to improving access to contraception to women in poor countries. Last year, the charity gave away $2.6 billion and to date has committed over $25 billion in grant in poverty eradication, public health and education.

The 100 Most Powerful Women

5. Jill Abramson / 58
Executive Editor, The New York Times

In year one as the first woman at the top of The New York Times masthead, Jill Abramson has shuffled senior editorial staff and captained the 161-year-old publication through an ongoing digital transformation. Now behind a paywall, has recruited more than half a million paid subscribers and attracts over 40 million unique visitors worldwide each month. At the South by SouthWest, a music and film festival, this year, the Harvard grad talked about her pride in being the first female executive editor of the paper and the rise of individual journalistic brands on the site.

Images: Angela: Reuters; Clinton: Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters; Rousseff : Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters; Gates: Getty Images; Abramson: Kena Betancur / Reuters



The 100 Most Powerful Women
6. Sonia Gandhi / 65
President,  Indian National Congress Party

Sonia Gandhi, the longest-serving chief in Indian National Congress Party history, has had to defend herself and the party after a spate of key Assembly polls this year. Last year, the 65-year-old widow of Rajiv Gandhi, the onetime heir to the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, successfully underwent cancer surgery. She was back in fighting spirit last month when she publicly reprimanded a fellow MP who had criticised her party’s handling of this summer’s rioting in Assam. Lauded for overseeing heavy economic growth, she is also criticised for tolerating political corruption and failing to forge connections with India’s fastest-growing demographic—younger voters. Gandhi is an avid scholar of the arts and holds a degree in oil painting conservation.

The 100 Most Powerful Women

7. Michelle Obama / 48
First Lady

More popular than her husband in this important election year, Michelle Obama has a positive approval rating of 66%, while the President’s average over his term has hovered just below 50%. The First Lady keeps a high profile with her mission to end childhood obesity, her commitment to military families and her stylish fashion picks. This year, the Harvard Law School grad led the US Olympic delegation in July’s opening ceremony in London; penned a cofee table book, American Grown, about growing veggies and tomatoes on the South Lawn of the White House; and waged a war on sugary fruit juices as a part of her Let’s Move initiative. She’s made more public appearances this year than usual—not surprisingly the campaign is using the missus as a tool to court the important women’s vote—appearing  as a judge on an episode of Bravo’s Top Chef, chatting with the ladies of The View and joking with funny guys Jimmy Fallon and Jon Stewart.

The 100 Most Powerful Women

8. Christine Lagarde / 56

Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

The first woman to run the IMF has spent much of her first year on the job battling the debt crisis in Europe. She’s been pushing for debt sharing and an increase in rescue funds from the European Union but has faced resistance from fellow Power Woman Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany. While the two are considered friends and this year exchanged holiday gifts, they’re at odds on how to avoid future emergencies like the one Greece experienced during the downturn. French-born Lagarde began her career at Chicago law firm Baker & McKenzie, where she specialised in labour and antitrust law. She returned to France in 2005 and was appointed finance minister in 2007.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
9. Janet Napolitano / 54
Secretary of Homeland Security

The first female head of the Department of Homeland Security is at the helm of the third-largest department in the US government—widely considered one of Washington’s toughest jobs. The past 12 months have seen Homeland Security in the spotlight, particularly in the glare of August’s lawsuit alleging a sexually hostile work environment for men in the department, June’s Supreme Court decision on Arizona immigration policy and Attorney General Eric Holder’s “Fast and Furious” hot potato. She previously served as the first female governor of Arizona, from 2003 to 2009. Voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school in 1975, Napolitano has a history in local and state-level politics and law enforcement but says moving to the national stage was a natural progression. “You’ve got to widen your scope and shift priorities,” she tells Forbes, “to keep the nation’s borders secure.”

The 100 Most Powerful Women

10. Sheryl Sandberg / 48
Coo, Facebook

After four years as Facebook’s COO, Sandberg was named to the social network’s board of directors in June, the company's first female board member. She owns nearly $1 billion of unvested stock in the company. The Harvard MBA served as chief of staff for the US Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton and managed Google’s online global sales and operations as a VP. One of few top women in tech, she has become the torchbearer for a generation of women hoping to balance high-profile jobs with motherhood.

Images: Gandhi: Adnan Abidi / Reuters; Obama: Getty Images; Lagarde: Reuters; Napolitano: Hyungwon Kang / Reuters; Sandberg: Kimberly White / Reuters

11. Oprah Winfrey / 58
Media Mogul

The queen of media has upped her on-air presence on 24-hour cable channel OWN, bringing in the network’s biggest audiences with exclusives on Whitney Houston’s family and Lady Gaga.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
Image: Getty Images

12. Indra Nooyi / 56
ceo,  Pepsico

Last year, the superstar CEO returned $5.6 billion to shareholders, and net revenue grew 14% to $66 billion. But activist investors are lobbying for a company split—something she opposes.

13. Irene Rosenfeld / 59
ceo, Kraft Foods

Busy orchestrating a corporate split of Kraft’s North American grocery business and its global snacks business into 2 public companies, with the $35 billion snacks company to be called Mondelez.

14. Lady Gaga / 26
Entertainer, Advocate

Holds court over some 28 million Little Monsters and raked in $52 million this year. She also launched her own nonprofit, the Born This Way Foundation.

15. Virginia Rometty / 54
Ceo, IBM

Tapped as CEO, becoming the first woman to head the century-old tech giant. “Ginni” is implementing a 5-year strategy to use new markets such as cloud computing and business analytics software.

16. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner / 59
President, Argentina

She’s driving a booming economy in her second term: GDP is up 37% since 2007 at $725 billion.

17. Ursula Burns / 53
Ceo, Xerox

Is reframing Xerox as a services business rather than a seller of printers and copiers. Burns sees continued growth through small acquisitions of healthcare and processing technologies.

18. Meg Whitman / 56
Ceo, HP

Struck out in election for California governor, but it might have been an easier job. Whitman has said it might take “4 or 5 years” to fix the tech giant.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
19. Aung San Suu Kyi / 67
General Secretary, National League For Democracy

Less than 2 years after being released from nearly 2 decades under house arrest, she was elected to Burma’s Parliament and in June accepted her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.
Image: Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters

20. Maria Das Gracas Silva Foster / 59
Ceo, Petrobras

Presides over mammoth Petrobras, which produces 91% of Brazil’s oil and 90% of its natural gas.

21. Marissa Mayer / 37
Ceo, Yahoo

Google’s 20th employee stunned the tech world when she announced she was leaving to become the CEO of Yahoo. On the same day, she revealed she’s expecting her first child this autumn.

22. Anne Sweeney / 54
Co-chair, Disney Media Networks, President, Disney/Abc Television Group

Oversees a portfolio of over 100 channels that reach 600 million viewers in 169 countries and has secured a deal with Univision to create an English language channel targeting Hispanics.

23. Diane Sawyer / 66
News Anchor, ABC News,

Has anchored World News since 2009, which averages 7.6 million viewers a night, and is co-anchoring ABC’s presidential election coverage.

24. Angela Braly / 51
ceo, Wellpoint

Runs the second-largest health insurer in the US, affecting the healthcare of 1 in 9 Americans.

25. Susan Wojcicki / 44
Senior VP, Advertising, Google

The brains behind Google’s ad products and responsible for 96% of the company’s nearly $40 billion in revenue in 2011.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
Image: Andrew Winning / Reuters

26. Queen Elizabeth II / 86

Busy commemorating her 60th Jubilee anniversary, including shaking hands with a former IRA commander. HRH is on track to become the longest-reigning British monarch in over 1,200 years.

27. Julia Gillard / 50
Prime Minister, Australia

With 2 years under her belt as the first female PM of Australia, oversees a population of 22 million and a GDP of $926 billion. This year, the Labor Party leader has struggled with rising energy bills and illegal immigration.

28. Nancy Pelosi / 72
Minority Leader, House Of Representatives,

The sole female voice at the table when top congressional leaders meet with President Obama.

29. Arianna Huffington / 62
Editor-In-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group,

The media maven’s online newspaper won its first Pulitzer Prize this year in national reporting, solidifying its place in an evolving news landscape.

30. Yingluck Shinawatra / 45
Prime Minister, Thailand

Oversees a country of 67 million and the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia. One year into her term, her ruling party has already been accused of plotting to overthrow the monarchy.

31. Kathleen Sebelius / 64
Secretary Of Health & Human Services,

Her most pressing concern continues to be implementing ObamaCare.

32. Beyonce Knowles / 31
Entertainer, Entrepreneur,

After giving birth to daughter Blue Ivy Carter (with rapper Jay-Z), Knowles was “Back to Business” performing, earning $40 million this past year.

33. Diane von Furstenberg / 65
Fashion Designer,

It’s been a year of interesting—and mass-market—collaborations for the veteran designer. In June, she entered her fourth term as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. She is also teaming up with lifestyle brand ROXY for a line of swimwear that will hit stores in spring 2013.

34. Helen Clark / 62
Administrator,  UN Development Programme,

In her fourth year, she has continued her persistent dedication to the Millennium Development Goals: Eradicate extreme hunger, universal education and improve maternal health by 2015.

35. Georgina Rinehart / 58
Billionaire, Activist,

The richest woman in Asia-Pacific is lobbying against mining and carbon taxes and pushing to relax Australia’s immigration policies. Now fighting legal action by 3 of her 4 children over the operation of a family trust.

36. Amy Pascal / 54
Cochair, Sony Pictures Entertainment,

A Hollywood tastemaker behind many of the year’s biggest blockbusters: 21 Jump Street, Men in Black 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall and Skyfall (the next James Bond film). Also behind acclaimed TV drama Breaking Bad.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
Image: Getty Images

37. Margaret Chan / 65
Director-General, World Health Organization,

Starting her second 5-year term as the world’s most influential proselytiser for strengthening healthcare systems and single disease initiatives.

38. Jennifer Lopez / 43
Entertainer, Entrepreneur,

May be the most successful entertainer on the planet, raking in an estimated $52 million last year with projects in almost every corner of the industry.

39. Sheri McCoy / 53
ceo, Avon,

Edged out of the top job at J&J, she took the CEO seat at Avon, the world’s largest direct seller of beauty products, with sales reps in 100 countries.

40. Shakira / 35
Entertainer, Philanthropist,

Has sold more than 70 million
albums worldwide and is reportedly nearing a $60 million deal for her next 3 albums and tours. Also founder of the Barefoot Foundation, which works with early education systems around the world.

41. Mary Barra / 50
Senior VP, Global Product Dev, GM,

The highest-ranking woman at GM, she oversees 36,000 people and leads the design, engineering and quality of the automaker’s 11 global brands. Current GM CEO Dan Akerson, who appointed her head of global product development in early 2011, has publicly named her as a possible successor.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
42. Zhang Xin / 47
Ceo,  Soho China,

The billionaire CEO leads Soho China, the nation’s largest property developer, with her husband, Pan Shiyi, to form the power couple of China’s real estate industry.
Image: Getty Images

43. Alice Walton / 63
Billionaire, Philanthropist,

On 11/11/11, opened Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Wal-Mart hometown of Bentonville. Her estimated net worth rose by $2 billion this year, and she’s putting that money to work for a Mitt Romney-backing super-PAC.

44. Laura Lang / 56
Ceo, Time Inc,

As the first CEO from outside the industry, she’s focusing on the evolving digital market. Her first major deal on the job was with Apple to sell iPad subscriptions for 20 magazines.

45. Angela Ahrendts / 52
Ceo, Burberry,

CEO of one of the world’s most iconic brands, she is the power behind $2.9 billion in annual revenues and is reinvigorating the century-old British fashion house with Silicon Valley savvy.

46. Sue Naegle / 43
President,  HBO Entertainment,

Oversees all series programming and specials, juggling $100 million budgets on huge global successes such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom.

47. Ellen Degeneres / 54
Entertainer, Advocate,

The star and executive producer of the talk show hit The Ellen DeGeneres Show (now in its 10th season and averaging 3 million viewers per episode) is rumoured to be paid $20 million for a 2-year JC Penney ad campaign. She is also a fierce antibullying advocate.

48. Safra Catz / 50
CFO, Oracle,

Has been bullish on the software giant’s future and said it could this year post the highest operating margins in its history. In June, launched its cloud computing service, a growth driver that could bring in $1 billion in revenue in its first year.

49. Laurene Powell Jobs / 48
Billionaire, Philanthropist,

Became the richest woman in Silicon Valley this year, with an estimated net worth of $9 billion. She maintains control of living trusts under her late husband’s name, among them the Steven P Jobs Trust, the largest Disney shareholder. She is also the founder and chair of the Emerson Collective, a nonprofit that focuses on using entrepreneurship to advance social reforms.

50. Rosalind Brewer / 49
Ceo, Sam’s Club,

In January, was appointed chief of Sam’s Club, making history as the first woman and first African-American to become CEO of a Walmart unit.

51. Anna Wintour / 62
Editor-In-Chief, Vogue,

The fashion powerhouse continues to use her sway in politics. This year, the Obama bundler teamed up with actress Sarah Jessica Parker to cohost a $40,000-a-plate dinner with the President. Some speculate she’s after an ambassadorship in London, but she denies it.

52. Helene Gayle / 57
Ceo, Care USA,

Last year, the Horn of Africa was experiencing a famine that left millions on the brink of starvation, and Dr Gayle was leading CARE on the ground. She oversees a budget of $626 million to aid over 122 million people in 84 countries.

53. Christiane Amanpour / 54
News Anchor, CNN & ABC News,

On a mission to bring meaningful, serious news to the US audience, reporting from global hotspots and landing interviews with top leaders.

54. Rosalia Mera / 68
Billionaire, Philanthropist,

The richest woman in Spain, cofounder of the parent company of Zara stores, has used her fortune to contribute to causes dear to her heart: Farm fishing, cancer treatments and fingerprinting for newborns.

55. Cynthia Carroll / 55
Ceo, Anglo American,

Profits are soaring at the mining behemoth, thanks to rising demand in emerging markets like China and India. She also upped Anglo’s share in De Beers, which produces 35% of the globe’s diamonds.

56. Cher Wang / 53
Chair, HTC,

The smartphone doyenne has had a rough year, taking a financial hit amid bruising competition and patent wars with Apple and Samsung.

57. Abigail Johnson / 50
President, Personal, Workplace & Institutional Services, Fidelity Investments,

One of the highest-placed executives at Fidelity, the billionaire became even more influential after her father, “Ned”, 82, passed her the chairmanship of the firm’s flagship mutual fund business in 2011.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
Image: Corbis
58. Padmasree Warrior / 51
cto, cSo,  Cisco Systems,

Is responsible for all deals activity at one of the most acquisitive firms in technology. She took on an expanded role in June, after 5 years as CTO, and insiders say she’s being groomed for the top spot.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
59. Chanda Kochhar / 50
Ceo, Managing Director, ICICI Bank,

Runs the second-largest lender in India. She oversees assets of $93 billion, 2,763 branches in India and the bank’s presence in 19 countries.
Image: Vikas Khot

60. Gail Kelly / 56
ceo, Westpac Group,

Oversees $631 billion in assets, over 1,500 bank branches and 36,000 employees. She is working to improve gender equality at Westpac, with women in 37.5% of leadership roles.

61. Margaret Hamburg / 57
Commissioner, Food & Drug Administration,

In charge of the oversight of nearly a quarter of the US economy, she’s taken a hardline approach on the FDA’s manufacturing standards, a move many blame for drug shortages.

62. Ellen Kullman / 56
Ceo, Dupont,

Led an acquisition of Danish food-enzyme company Danisco and is out to improve global food security by 2020, including a $10 billion investment in the R&D of products that help agriculture sustainability.

63. Drew Gilpin Faust / 64
President, Harvard University,

Has greatly increased financial aid for middle-income students, testified before Congress for increased scientific research funding and is an outspoken supporter of immigration reform.

64. Shari Arison / 55
Billionaire, Philanthropist,

Israel’s richest woman inherited stakes in Carnival Cruises, owns Israel’s largest salt manufacturer and founded global water efficiency company Miya. Last year, she launched social platform to support volunteerism and community service.

65. Mary Schapiro / 57
Chair, Securities & Exchange Commission,

Is one of the world’s most powerful female regulators. This year, she’s been fighting to revamp the $2.5 trillion money market fund industry.

66. Angelina Jolie / 37
Actress, Philanthropist,

An Academy Award-winning actress, a first-time director, a UN Goodwill Ambassador and, as of April 2012, a special envoy of the High Commissioner of the UNHCR, the UN’s special agency for refugees.

67. Miuccia Prada / 63
Fashion Designer, Owner, Prada,

Her clothing company, Prada, went public last year, landing her on Forbes’ list of billionaires. Her work headlines an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations”.

68. Carol Meyrowitz / 58
Ceo, TJX Companies,

Meyrowitz runs over 2,900 discount retail stores in the US and abroad, including TJ Maxx and Marshalls,
and is looking to increase that number to 4,500 stores and enter the online retail space.

69. Ertharin Cousin / 55
Executive Director, UN World Food Programme,

Has been involved in food and hunger issues through nonprofit, government and corporate means for 25 years. In April, she became director of the world’s largest humanitarian organisation.

70. Sue Gardner / 45
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation,

Leads the sixth-most-visited website in the world and has had great success increasing donations and expanding access for readers and contributors.

71. Joyce Banda / 62
President, Malawi

This April, became Malawi’s first female president.

72. Sri Mulyani Indrawati / 50
Managing Director, World Bank,

Has served as the most senior woman at the World Bank since May 2010.

73. Bonnie Hammer / 62
Chair,  Cable Entertainment & Cable Studios, NBC Universal,

Credited with taking the USA Network to the No. 1 spot in cable for the past 6 years and the SyFy channel into the top 5.

74. Chua Sock Koong / 53
Group Ceo,  Singapore Telecom,

With a customer base of 445 million, SingTel spans 26 countries and employs 23,000.

75. Sofa Vergara / 40
Actress, Entrepreneur,

The highest-paid actress on TV and a megawatt indicator of the $1 trillion Hispanic market.

76. Ho Ching / 59
Ceo,  Temasek,

Focusing the investment house’s portfolio on the twin transformations of Asia and Singapore, and extending into non-Asian international investments.

77. Tina Brown / 58
Editor-In-Chief, Newsweek, The Daily Beast,

Runs both Newsweek and the Daily Beast, and is a major supporter of women’s rights and leadership.

78. JK Rowling / 47
Billionaire, Author,

The Harry Potter series finally became available in digital form in 2012 via the website Pottermore, with Rowling pocketing much of the sale price. The site’s store sold over $4 million in its first month.

79. Chan Laiwa / 71
Chair, Fu Wah International Group,

One of China’s most influential businesswomen and cultural diplomats. She is now focussed on the China Red Sandalwood Museum in Beijing.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
Image: Reuters

80. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw / 59
Chair,  Biocon,

Close to partnering in development and commercialisation of oral insulin with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

81. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala / 58
Finance Minister,

Left the World Bank in 2011 for a second run as Nigerian finance minister.

82. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf / 73

Elected to her second term weeks after she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The 100 Most Powerful Women
83. Gisele Bundchen / 32
Supermodel, Entrepreneur,

The world’s most powerful supermodel is an endorsement queen. Last year, she pulled in an estimated $45 million and still had time to act as an ambassador for the UN Environmental Programme.
Image: Paulo Whitaker / Reuters

84. Mary Meeker / 52
Partner, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers,

In 2011, the famed “Queen of the Net” became a partner at KPCB, and her annual “Internet Report” holds particular sway over the tech industry.

85. Shaikha Khalid Al-Bahar / 57
CEO-Kuwait, National Bank Of Kuwait,

While the National Bank of Kuwait operates 176 branches worldwide, she oversees the bank’s core: Kuwait and assets of more than $48 billion.

86. Marjorie Scardino / 65
Ceo, Pearson,

She is guiding the 168-year-old publishing business, which owns the Financial Times and publisher Penguin Group, through a digital transformation.

87. Solina Chau / 50
Director, Li Ka Shing Foundation,
Hong Kong

Through the $8.2 billion foundation’s moneymaking unit, Horizons Ventures, she’s been instrumental in driving high-tech deals and investments in companies like Facebook, Skype, Spotify and Siri.

88. Jan Fields / 57
President, McDonald’s USA,

Has turned a health-conscious new leaf: McDonald’s is cutting its calorie counts, adding fruit for Happy Meal desserts and reducing french fry portion sizes.

89. Weili Dai / 51
Co-founder, Marvell Tech. Group,

Co-founder of one of the world’s leading producers of “fabless” semiconductors, with a client roster that includes Apple, Samsung and Toshiba.

90. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey / 57
ceo, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,

Oversees an estimated 700 grants that dedicate up to $400 million per year toward improving health and healthcare, including assisting states with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

91. Sun Yafang / 56
Chair, Huawei Technologies,

Credited with turning Huawei into the world’s No. 2 maker of telecom equipment, with 2011 revenues topping $32 billion.

92. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi / 53
Minister of Foreign Trade,

This year, she has been using her post to strengthen exports to Arab markets.

93. Guler Sabanci / 57
Chair, Sabanci Holding,

The third-generation leader of the second-largest company in Turkey, which has a controlling interest in companies in the financial services, energy, cement and retail sectors.

94. Greta Van Susteren / 58
News Anchor, Fox News,

Currently the longest-serving cable news anchor—male or female—on television.

95. Mary Callahan Erdoes / 45
Ceo, Asset Management, JPMorgan Chase,

One of the most powerful women on Wall Street is also one of the few high-ranking women left. When JPMorgan Chase made trades in 2012 that resulted in billions in losses, Erdoes’ unit took the opposite bet.

96. Mindy Grossman / 55
Ceo,  HSN,

Continues to find creative ways to broaden audience base, adding an online videogame channel to tap into the growing population of female gamers.

97. Patricia Woertz / 59
Ceo, Archer Daniels Midland,

Oversees massive agribusiness ADM, which converts corn, oil seeds, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed and energy and which operates in over 75 countries around the world.

98. Judith Rodin / 68
President, The Rockefeller Foundation,

In the last year, she has overseen the distribution of $141 million to solving global problems.

99. Beth Brooke / 53
Global Vice Chair, Ernst & Young,

Has public policy responsibility for the firm’s operations in 140 countries around the world.

100. Sheikha Al Mayassa Al-Thani / 29
Chair,  Qatar Museums Authority

Arguably the most powerful woman in the art world today. Last year, she paid $250 million for Paul Cézanne’s “The Card Players”, setting a record for the highest price paid for a painting ever.

We selected the 100 most influential women from 7 categories or power bases: Billionaires, business, lifestyle (including entertainment and fashion), media, nonprofits/NGOs, politics and technology. To determine the rank within each category, as well as overall rank on the list of 100, we applied three metrics: Money, media presence and impact.

For the money metric we looked at 2011 company revenue and market value for business, media and tech; for lifestyle we looked at salary, using the Forbes 2012 Celebrity 100; for GDP, politics and net worth from the Forbes 2012 World’s Billionaires list for those with 10-figure bank accounts. Women from nonprofits/NGOs were rated on dollars spent fulfilling the organisation’s mission.

The media component accounts for news hits (Factiva) and TV and radio appearances (Nexis) from the past 12 months, plus social media: Facebook fans, Twitter followers and YouTube channel subscribers, all as of July 2012. Finally, we scored our candidates on their impact. This includes the extent of their reach across industries, cultures and countries, the number of spheres of influence and people they affect and how actively they wield their power.

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(This story appears in the 28 September, 2012 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Dr.jayashreerameshcnadrababu

    Respected Madam, 13-03-2014 Vigilance is watching opportunity,tact and daring in seizing upon opportunity force and persistence in crowding opportunity to do utmost of possible achievement .These are the material virtues which must command success. BY Dr.jayashreerameshchandrababu Irinjalakuda Kerala

    on Mar 13, 2014
  • Mohit Kumar

    pls read about former c.m mayawati and rank her at higher position

    on Dec 15, 2012
  • Ravinder Reddy Narra


    on Oct 10, 2012
    • Krishna Prabha

      When I first read remove Sonia Gandhi, i thought you were referring to the fact that she is one the most corrupt people in Indian history looting the country, but when you mention its because of telangana i personally would like to (disagree). Why would you want to separate a state that speaks the same language? What are you going to get? Your politicians would probably get power and weaken the country beyond anything...and besides how much did the politicians pay those 'students' to commit suicide? what exactly are you going to get from a separate state? And Sonia Gandhi weak? she is probably one of the strongest willed women Indian politics...only she doesn't use it for the country's good...

      on Jan 6, 2013