German Chancellor Angela Merkel has topped the Forbes list of the 100 most powerful women beating British PM Theresa May, philanthropist Melinda Gates and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Merkel, whose stature may have taken a hit after the recent German elections in which she won a fourth term with diminished authority, topped the list for the seventh consecutive year and for the 12th time in total, the Guardian reported. May was in second place despite a difficult year in which her party’s parliamentary majority was much reduced after her decision to hold a general election in June.
May’s leadership during Brexit — a process that will have far-reaching consequences for the UK and the rest of Europe — ensured that despite her political fragility, she remained one of the world’s leading players. May was followed by Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, and Mary Barra, the chief executive of General Motors were next. New entries in the list included US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump (19), US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (43), Indian actress and United Nations Children’s Fund goodwill ambassador Priyanka Chopra (97).
The names on the list were drawn from seven “power bases” — billionaires, business, finance, media, politics, philanthropists/NGOs and technology. Together, the women directly influenced more than three billion people, according to Moira Forbes, executive vice-president of Forbes Media. “Whether leading multibillion-dollar companies, governing countries, transforming an industry or setting the agenda on critical issues of our time, collectively these women are making a lasting impact on our global footprint,” she said.
Almost half the women on the list were American. The UK had eight representatives while the rest of Europe had 13. Queen Elizabeth (26), First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon (42) and author J.K. Rowling (88) were also there in the list. Former US first lady Michelle Obama dropped off the list since she left the White House last year. Hillary Clinton, who appeared every year since the list’s inception in 2004, fell 63 places, from second in 2016 to 65th in 2017.