German Chancellor Merkel tops powerful women list

Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:10pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped the Forbes list of the world's most powerful women, which is dominated by politicians, businesswomen and leaders in media and entertainment.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who came close to defeating President Obama when he sought the Democratic nomination in 2008, was second, followed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

"Our list reflects the diverse and dynamic paths to power for women today, whether leading a nation or setting the agenda on critical issues of our time," said Moira Forbes, president & publisher of ForbesWoman, said in a statement.

Eight heads of state and 29 CEOs made Forbes' roster of the 100 most powerful women released on Wednesday. They have an average age of 54 and collectively control $30 trillion. Twenty two are single.

"Across their multiple spheres of influence, these women have achieved power through connectivity, the ability to build a community around the organizations they oversee, the countries they lead, the causes they champion and their personal brands," Forbes added.

Merkel was cited as the head of the one real global economy in Europe. Clinton was lauded for deftly dealing with Middle East revolutions and WikiLeaks revelations in her second year on the job, while Rousseff made history as the first woman to lead Latin America's largest economic power.

Rounding out the top five were the CEO of PepsiCo U.S. Indra Nooyi, who oversees the $60 billion food and beverage empire, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who was credited with preparing the booming social network's IPO that could bring in as much as $100 billion.

Forbes said women on the list achieved power not only through money and might, but, thanks to social media, through reach and influence.

Lady Gaga and The New York Times' recently appointed executive editor, Jill Abramson, came in at No. 11 and 12.   Continued...

<p>German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech after receiving the Emperor Otto Prize in the Magdeburg Cathedral in Magdeburg August 24, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Peter</p>