In assembling the list, Forbes say they “looked for women who run countries, big companies or influential nonprofits. Their rankings are a combination of two scores: visibility — by press mentions — and the size of the organization or country these women lead.”
Crikey took a snapshot of some of the most interesting women to make the grade, and the secrets of their success:
#1Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany: This is the fourth consecutive year that Germany’s leading lady has topped the list. Markel faces the election polls in September. Recent news coverage however, has focused more on her cleavage than her ability to turn around Germany’s slowing economy.
#2Sheila Bair, Chairman, US Federal Deposit Insurance Corp: Taking over 77 banks in a year and toughing it out in turf wars with Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner gets you the title of second most powerful woman in the world. It also makes you more powerful than the First Lady and the Queen.
#18Gail Kelly, Chief Executive, Westpac, Australia: The only Aussie to make the list. Ms Kelly slipped a few spots from last year but managed to stay inside the top 20. Some commentators have questioned if Ms Kelly is really more powerful than US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Come on, where’s the national pride?
#35 Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, US House of Representatives: Pelosi pips Hilary Clinton (#36), Michelle Obama (#40), Oprah Winfrey (#41) and the Queen of England (#42), as the 35 th most powerful woman in the world. Someone to keep an eye on in the current debate about health care reform in the US after she said on Thursday that there’s ‘no way’ the House can pass a health-care bill without a government-run insurance option.
#55Sonia Sotomayor, US Supreme Court Justice: It’s the first time on the Forbes list for the recently approved Supreme Court Justice. Ms Sotomayor is the third woman and the first Hispanic to sit on the court.
#57Kathleen Sebelius, US Secretary of Health and Human Services: The former Kansas Governor is currently at the forefront of the debate over health care reform and continues to be influential in the US response to Swine Flu. Having missed out on the Vice Presidential ticket in 2008, Sebelius has been named as potential presidential candidate for the future.
#76 Queen Rania, Jordan: Touted as “perhaps the most listened to woman in the Middle East” by Forbes, Queen Rania is well-known for her beauty and her style. (Check out HuffPo’s collection of pics of her wardrobe). But it is her prolific Tweeting which has everyone talking. She has over 650,000 followers and likes to Tweet photos of her holidays with her King. Follow her @QueenRania.