A Woman is an enigma for most of the men since time immemorial. Their grit and determination plus the ability to love make them successful in whatever they attempt to do. From being renowned corporate women to handling their family and kids they are able to handle everything with panache. In fact, the success stories of some of them have left some of their male counterparts behind and given a new definition to women empowerment.
Over the years these women have risen to the occasion and helped stir up issues which had largely been kept hidden under the carpet. Those in politics have given voices to concerns which were not considered so important until now. The corporate bigwigs are out to leave the men astounded with their understanding and perspective of the present business scene.
The women of today have found a new identity and with this balanced approach to life they are ready to move ahead without any holds barred. Their music, dance and artistic abilities can cause even the toughest of competitors to take a bow and accept their dignified success chapter. This year we have compiled a list of the 100 most powerful women in the world and how they have gained or lost positions with regards to the previous year
1. Angela Merkel (Chancellor, Germany)
Angela Dorothea Merkel is a German politician serving as Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union since 2000. Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world, and the leader of the Free World.
2. Theresa May
Theresa Mary May is a British politician serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party since 2016. She served as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016. May was first elected Member of Parliament for Maidenhead in 1997.
3. Christine Lagarde
Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde is a French lawyer and politician who is currently serving as the Managing Director and Chairwoman of the International Monetary Fund. Lagarde has held the position since 5 July 2011.
4. Mary Barra
Mary Teresa Barra is the Chairwoman and CEO of General Motors Company. She has held the CEO position since January 15, 2014, and she is the first female CEO of a major global automaker.
5. Abigail Johnson
Abigail Pierrepont Johnson is an American businesswoman. Since 2014, Johnson has been president and chief executive officer of US investment firm Fidelity Investments, and chairman of its international sister company Fidelity International. Fidelity was founded by her grandfather Edward C. Johnson II.
6. Melinda Gates
Melinda Ann Gates DBE is an American philanthropist. She is a former Microsoft employee and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She worked at Microsoft, where she was project manager for Microsoft Bob, Encarta and Expedia.
7. Susan Wojcicki
Susan Diane Wojcicki is an American technology executive. She has been the CEO of YouTube since February 2014. Wojcicki was involved in the founding of Google, and became Google’s first marketing manager in 1999.
8. Ana Patricia Botin
Ana Patricia Botín-Sanz de Sautuola O’Shea, DBE is a Spanish banker. On 10 September 2014 she was appointed executive chairman of Santander Group, the fourth generation of the Botín family to hold this role. Prior to this she was CEO of Santander UK, a role she held from December 2010.
9. Marillyn Hewson
Marillyn Adams Hewson is the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin. In 2015, Hewson was named the 20th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
10. Ginni Rometty
Virginia Marie “Ginni” Rometty is an American business executive. She is the current chair, president, and CEO of IBM, and the first woman to head the company.
11. Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Kara Sandberg is an American technology executive, activist, author, and billionaire. She is the chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of Leanin.org. In June 2012, she was elected to Facebook’s board of directors by the existing board members, becoming the first woman to serve on its board.
12. Gail Boudreaux
Gail Koziara Boudreaux is an American businesswoman and athlete. In college, she was a standout player for the Dartmouth Big Green Women’s basketball team from 1978 through 1982. She later served as an executive for a number of companies such as Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield and UnitedHealth Group.
13. Angela Ahrendts
Angela Jean Ahrendts, DBE is an American businesswoman and the senior vice president of retail at Apple Inc. She was the CEO of Burberry from 2006 to 2014. Ahrendts left Burberry to join Apple in 2014.
14. Safra Catz
Safra A. Catz is an Israeli-born American business executive. She has been an executive at Oracle Corporation since April 1999, and a board member since 2001. In April 2011 she was named co-president and chief financial officer, reporting to founder/CTO Larry Ellison.
15. Isabelle Kocher
Isabelle Kocher is a French businesswoman. She is the chief executive officer of Engie.
16. Adena Friedman
Adena T. Friedman is an American businessperson. She currently serves as the president and CEO of Nasdaq. She was formerly the managing director and CFO of The Carlyle Group.
17. Ho Ching
Ho Ching is the Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings. She is married to the current Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong. Ho first joined Temasek Holdings as a Director in January 2002 then became its Executive Director in May 2002 and was appointed Chief Executive Officer on 1 January 2004.
18. Emma Walmsley
Emma Natasha Walmsley, HonFRSC is the chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline. She succeeded Sir Andrew Witty, who retired in March 2017.
19. U.S. Supreme Court Justices
Comprising one-third of the U.S. Supreme Court, these justices wield tremendous influence as their decisions can have ripple effects around the globe. In acknowledgment of this power, the court’s three female Associate Justices collectively share Number 19 on the World’s Most Powerful Women list.
20. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011 in Chicago.
21. Ruth Porat
Ruth Porat is an English-born American financial executive, who currently serves as chief financial officer of Alphabet Inc. as well as its subsidiary Google. Porat was CFO and executive vice president of Morgan Stanley from January 2010 to May 2015.
22. Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs is an American businesswoman, executive and the founder of Emerson Collective, which advocates for policies concerning education and immigration reform, social justice and environmental conservation.
23. Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and she was educated privately at home.
24. Ivanka Trump
Ivana Marie “Ivanka” Trump is an American businesswoman, fashion designer, author and reality television personality. She is the daughter of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, and former model Ivana Trump.
25. Phebe Novakovic
Phebe Novakovic is an American businesswoman and former intelligence officer. She serves as the Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of General Dynamics. As of 2018, she is listed as the 25th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
26. Sheikh Hasina Wajed
Sheikh Hasina Wazed is the current and 10th Prime Minister of Bangladesh, in office since January 2009. She is the longest serving prime minister in the history of Bangladesh. Hasina is the daughter of Bangladesh’s first President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Her political career has spanned more than four decades.
27. Stacey Cunningham
Stacey Cunningham is a banker, and the 67th president of the New York Stock Exchange. She is the first female president of the NYSE. After interning with the NYSE during the 1990s, Cunningham became a trading floor clerk, continuing to work at the exchange until 2005.
28. Amy Hood
Amy E. Hood is an American businesswoman currently serving as the Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft Corporation. Hood joined Microsoft in 2002 holding positions in the investor relations group.
29. Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern is a New Zealand politician serving as the 40th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand since 26 October 2017. She has also served as the Leader of the Labour Party since 1 August 2017.
30. Gina Rinehart
Georgina Hope “Gina” Rinehart is an Australian mining magnate who is chairman of Hancock Prospecting, a privately owned mineral exploration and extraction company founded by her father Lang Hancock. She is one of Australia’s richest people and one of the world’s richest women.
31. Shari Redstone
Shari Ellin Redstone is an American media executive with a background in numerous aspects of the entertainment industry and related ventures. She currently serves as the president of National Amusements as well as vice-chairwoman of CBS Corporation and Viacom.
32. Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, GBM, GBS is the 4th and current Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Before that, she was the Chief Secretary for Administration, the most senior rank of principal officials of Hong Kong, from 2012 to 2017.
33. Mary Callahan Erdoes
Mary Callahan Erdoes is Chief Executive Officer of J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management, a global leader in investment management and private banking with $2.8 trillion in client assets. She is also a member of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Operating Committee.
34. Rosalind Brewer
Rosalind G. Brewer is an American businesswoman who is the COO of Starbucks and the former President and CEO of Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. On Jan. 6, 2017, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced that she will retire from the role effective Feb. 1, 2017 and will be replaced by John Furner.
35. Erna Solberg
Erna Solberg is a Norwegian politician serving as Prime Minister of Norway since October 2013 and Leader of the Conservative Party since May 2004.
36. Bonnie Hammer
Bonnie Hammer is an American businesswoman and network executive. As Chairman of NBCUniversal Cable, Hammer oversees the leading cable brands USA, The Sci-Fi Channel, E!, Bravo, Oxygen, Esquire Network,
37. Lisa Davis
Lisa A. Davis is an American businesswoman, the chair and CEO of Siemens Corporation since January 2017. Davis is also a member of the managing board of Siemens AG. Lisa Davis was born in the US on October 15, 1963. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
38. Marianne Lake
Marianne Lake is the Chief Financial Officer of the bank JPMorgan Chase. She was appointed on 20 November 2012, replacing Douglas Braunstein. Blythe Masters and Lou Rauchenberger were also considered for the role.
39. Mingzhu Dong
Dong Mingzhu is a Chinese businesswoman. She is the Chairwoman of Gree Electric. In 2013, Dong was named as “Forbes Asia “Woman in the Mix” for business. The New York Times called her “one of the toughest businesswomen in China.
40. Tsai Ing-wen
Tsai Ing-wen is a Taiwanese politician, legal scholar and attorney currently serving as the President of the Republic of China, commonly known as President of Taiwan, since May 20, 2016.
41. Donna Langley
Donna Langley is a movie executive, and Chairman of Universal Pictures. She was named to Variety’s 2014 Power of Women.
42. Anne Finucane
Anne Finucane is an American banker who is vice chair of Bank of America. She leads the bank’s environmental, social and corporate governance committee.
43. Gillian Tans
Gillian Tans is a Dutch businesswoman who is the current Booking.com’s Chief Executive Officer, appointed in April 2016. She is responsible for the global strategy and operations of Booking.com, including the management of all business units within the organization.
44. Thi Phuong Thao Nguyen
Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo is a Vietnamese businesswoman, and the President and CEO of VietJet Air.
45. Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon is a Scottish politician serving as the fifth and current First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party since November 2014. She is the first woman to hold either position.
46. Jean Liu
Liu Qing or Jean Liu, is a Chinese business executive. Liu is the President of Didi Chuxing, China’s largest mobile transportation platform. She worked at Goldman Sachs Asia for 12 years, becoming a managing director in 2012, before switching to Didi Dache serving as its chief operating officer in July 2014.
47. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is a Croatian politician and diplomat serving as the 4th and current President of Croatia since 2015. She is the first woman to be elected to the office since the first multi-party elections in 1990. At 46 years of age, she also became the youngest person to assume the presidency.
48. Anna Wintour
Dame Anna Wintour DBE is a British-American journalist and editor. She has been editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988, and has been artistic director for Condé Nast, Vogue’s publisher, since 2013
49. Elvira Nabiullina
Elvira Sakhipzadovna Nabiullina is a Russian economist and head of the Central Bank of Russia. She was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s economic adviser between May 2012 to June 2013 after serving as minister of economic development and trade from September 2007 to May 2012.
50. Beyoncé Knowles
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is an American singer, songwriter, actress, record producer, and dancer. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Beyoncé performed in various singing and dancing competitions as a child. She rose to fame in the late 1990s as lead singer of the R&B girl-group Destiny’s Child.
51. Roshni Nadar Malhotra
Roshni Nadar Malhotra is the Executive Director and the CEO of HCL Enterprise. She is the only child of HCL’s founder, Shiv Nadar. In 2017, she was ranked 51th on the Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list.
52. Dana Walden
Dana Walden is an American businesswoman. She currently serves as the Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Television Group.
53. Priscilla Chan
Priscilla Chan is an American pediatrician and philanthropist. She is married to the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. Born and raised in Massachusetts, she attended Harvard University for undergrad and received her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco.
54. Tricia Griffith
Tricia Griffith is a U.S. businesswoman who currently serves as the CEO and president of Progressive.
55. Jennifer Morgan
56. Feng Ying Wang
Wang Fengying is a Chinese businesswoman, and the CEO and deputy chairman of Great Wall Motor. Wang Fengying was born in Baoding in Hebei province in the north of China. In 1991, Wang earned a bachelor’s degree from the Tianjin Institute of Finance, followed by a M.Sc. in 1999.
57. Maggie Wei Wu
Wu Wei known professionally as Maggie Wu, is a Chinese business executive who is the Chief Financial Officer of Alibaba Group, a family of Internet-based businesses.
58. Lubna S. Olayan
Lubna Suliman Olayan is a Saudi business woman. Born to Sulaiman Olayan and Maryam bint Jassim Al Abdulwahab, Olayan was listed as one of the top 100 most influential people of 2005 by Time magazine, and continued to be on the Forbes list of most powerful women till 2011 and returned to the list in 2014
59. Gwynne Shotwell
Gwynne Shotwell is an American businesswoman. She is the President and Chief Operating Officer at SpaceX, an American space transportation company, where she is responsible for day-to-day operations and company growth. As of 2016, she is listed as the 76th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
60. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian billionaire entrepreneur. She is the chairperson and managing director of Biocon Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore, India and the chairperson of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.
61. Melanie Kreis
Melanie Kreis is a German businesswoman, and the chief financial officer of Deutsche Post, the world’s largest logistics company, since October 2016.
62. Zhou Qunfei
Zhou Qunfei is a Chinese entrepreneur who founded the major touchscreen maker Lens Technology. After the public listing of her company on the Shenzhen ChiNext market in March 2015, her net worth reached US$10 billion, making her the richest woman in China.
63. Dalia Grybauskaite
Dalia Grybauskaitė is a Lithuanian politician serving as the fifth and current President of Lithuania since 2009. She is the first woman to hold the position and became in 2014 the first President of Lithuania to be reelected for a second consecutive term.
64. Güler Sabanci
Güler Sabancı is a Turkish businesswoman, a third-generation female member of the Sabancı family, and the chairperson of the family-controlled Sabancı Holding, the second-largest industrial and financial conglomerate in Turkey. As of 2014, she is listed as the 60th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
65. Peng Liyuan
Peng is China’s first high-profile first lady since Chairman Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing — inserting a dose of glamour into a traditional role. Peng promotes rural education in China and campaigns against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis for the World Health Organization.
66. Katharine Viner
Katharine Sophie Viner is a British journalist and playwright. She became the first female editor-in-chief at The Guardian on 1 June 2015 succeeding Alan Rusbridger. Viner previously headed The Guardian’s web operations in Australia and the United States, before being selected for the editor-in-chief’s position.
67. Federica Mogherini
Federica Maria Mogherini is an Italian politician who has served as High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy since November 2014.
68. Taylor Swift
Taylor Alison Swift is an American singer-songwriter. One of the world’s leading contemporary recording artists, she is known for narrative songs about her personal life, which have received widespread media coverage.
69. Belinda Johnson
Belinda Johnson is an American attorney and the Chief Operating Officer at Airbnb. Johnson also serves on the board of directors at PayPal. She was ranked one of Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women in 2017.
70. Zanny Minton Beddoes
Susan “Zanny” Minton Beddoes is a British journalist. She is the 17th and first female editor-in-chief of The Economist. She began working for the newspaper in 1994, as its emerging markets correspondent.
71. Kathleen Kennedy
Kathleen Kennedy is an American film producer. In 1981, she co-founded the production company Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg and husband Frank Marshall.
72. Lynn Good
Lynn J. Good is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy, a Fortune 500 company. Good is an Ohio native and graduated from Miami University where she earned a BS in Systems Analysis and in Accounting.
73. Solina Chau
Solina Chau Hoi Shuen is a businesswoman in Hong Kong, a business partner in the Cheung Kong Group, and director of the Li Ka Shing Foundation. She is also a major stockholder in Tom.com, a publication and advertising company in the People’s Republic of China.
74. Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Lynn Rhimes is an American television producer, screenwriter, and author. She is best known as the showrunner—creator, head writer, and executive producer—of the television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, its spin-off Private Practice, and the political thriller series Scandal.
75. Judy Faulkner
Judith “Judy” R. Faulkner is an American billionaire, the CEO and founder of Epic Systems, a healthcare software company located in Wisconsin. Faulkner founded Epic Systems in 1979, with the original name of Human Services Computing.
76. Kersti Kaljulaid
Kersti Kaljulaid is an Estonian politician who is the fifth and current President of Estonia, in office since 10 October 2016. She is the first female head of state of Estonia since the country declared independence in 1918, as well as the youngest ever President, aged 46 at the time of her election.
77. Arianna Huffington
Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington is a Greek-American author, syndicated columnist, and businesswoman. Huffington, the former wife of Republican congressman Michael Huffington, was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, which is now owned by AOL
78. Sri Mulyani Indrawati
Sri Mulyani Indrawati is an Indonesian economist who has been Minister of Finance of Indonesia since 2016; previously she served in the same post from 2005 to 2010. In June 2010 she was appointed as Managing Director of the World Bank Group and resigned as Minister of Finance.
79. Serena Williams
Serena Jameka Williams is an American professional tennis player. The Women’s Tennis Association ranked her world No. 1 in singles on eight separate occasions between 2002 and 2017. She reached the No. 1 ranking for the first time on July 8, 2002.
80. Meg Whitman
Margaret Cushing “Meg” Whitman is an American business executive, political activist, and philanthropist. Whitman served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
81. Denise Coates
Denise Coates CBE is a British billionaire businesswoman, the founder and joint chief executive of online gambling company Bet365. As of May 2018, Forbes magazine estimated her net worth at $4.6 billion.
82. Raja Easa Al Gurg
Raja Al Gurg is a businesswoman who lives in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.She is the Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group and a Board Member of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.
83. Eliza Manningham-Buller
Elizabeth Lydia “Eliza” Manningham-Buller, Baroness Manningham-Buller, LG, DCB was Director General of MI5, the British internal Security Service, from October 2002 until her retirement on 20 April 2007, aged 58. She became a crossbench life peer on 18 April 2008.
84. Wai Ying Lam
Lam Wai Ying is a Chinese billionaire businesswoman, and the chairman and 49% owner of Biel Crystal Manufactory. She is married to Yeung Kin-man, the founder and chief executive, and 51% owner. Biel manufactures touch screens for smartphones, and employs 100,000 people in China.
85. Michelle Bachelet
Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria is a Chilean politician who served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018, the first woman to occupy the position.
86. Lee Boo-jin
Lee Boo-jin is a South Korean billionaire businesswoman, and the president and chief executive of Hotel Shilla, one of Seoul’s leading hotels and conference centres.
87. Jenny Lee
Managing partner at GGV Capital since 2005, Lee is widely considered to be one of the most respected venture capital investors in China.
88. Shobhana Bhartia
Shobhana Bhartia is the Chairperson and Editorial Director of the Hindustan Times Group, one of India’s newspaper and media houses, which she inherited from her father.
89. Kirsten Green
Kirsten Green is an American venture capitalist, the founder and managing partner of Forerunner Ventures.
90. Geisha Williams
Geisha J. Williams is an American businesswoman. She has been the president and CEO of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company since March 2017.
91. Ana Brnabic
Ana Brnabić is a Serbian politician who has been the Prime Minister of Serbia since 29 June 2017. She is the first woman, first openly gay and first person with Croat ethnic descent to hold the office.
92. Anne Wojcicki
Anne E. Wojcicki is an American entrepreneur and the co-founder and chief executive officer of the personal genomics company 23andMe.
93. Aileen Lee
Aileen Lee is a U.S. seed investor. A venture capital investor, she is the founder of Cowboy Ventures. Lee coined the often-used Silicon Valley term unicorn in a TechCrunch article “Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning from Billion-Dollar Startups” as profiled in a New York Times article.
94. Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra is an Indian actress, singer, film producer, philanthropist, and the winner of the Miss World 2000 pageant. One of India’s highest-paid and most popular celebrities, Chopra has received numerous awards, including a National Film Award and Filmfare Awards in five categories.
95. Rania Nashar
Nashar is the first female CEO of Saudi commercial bank, Samba Financial Group.
96. Dominique Senequier
Dominique Senequier is a French businesswoman. She is president of Ardian, a private equity firm she created in 1996.
97. Sahle-Work Zewde
Sahle-Work Zewde is the 4th and current President of Ethiopia, the first woman to hold the office. A diplomat, she was elected president unanimously by members of the Federal Parliamentary Assembly on 25 October 2018.
98. Theresia Gouw
Theresia Gouw is an entrepreneur and venture capital investor in the technology sector. She worked at Bain & Company, Release Software and Accel Partners before co-founding Aspect Ventures, a female-led venture capital firm, in 2014. Gouw was named one of the 40 most influential minds in tech by Time Magazine.
99. Margarita Louis-Dreyfus
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus is a Russian-born Swiss billionaire businesswoman, chairperson of Louis Dreyfus.
100. Beth Brooke-Marciniak
Beth Brooke-Marciniak is the Global Vice Chair of Public Policy for EY. She is also EY’s global sponsor for Diversity and Inclusiveness and a prominent advocate for the benefits of inclusive leadership and growth. In 2014 she was listed as the 98th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.