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DON'T MISS! The most POWERFUL women in the world

Last updated on: August 24, 2012 09:33 IST

DON'T MISS! The most POWERFUL women in the world

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Rediff.com presents the list of the most powerful women in the world, as per the latest Forbes rankings.

Sonia Gandhi

Congress party president Sonia Gandhi was on Wednesday ranked the sixth most powerful woman in the world ahead of US First Lady Michelle Obama, by Forbes magazine in its list of 100 influential women.

Gandhi, 65, is among the five Indian women who have been named in the 'World's 100 Most Powerful Women' list released by Forbes on Wednesday. The United Progressive Alliance chairperson was ranked 7th last year.

The US-based business magazine said Gandhi, the 'one-time heir to the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty', successfully underwent a surgery last year and was 'back in fighting spirit last month when she publicly reprimanded a fellow parliamentarian during session who had criticised her party's handling of this summer's rioting in Assam'.

The longest serving chief in the Congress party's history, Gandhi has had to defend herself and the party after a spate of key assembly elections this year, blaming the drubbing on weak candidates and state party organisations.

"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," the publication said.

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Image: Sonia Gandhi
Photographs: Reuters

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Angela Merkel

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been named as the world's No 1 Most Powerful Woman for the second year in a row by Forbes.

The publication has regarded Merkel as 'The Iron Lady of Europe' and the lead player in the eurozone economic drama that continues to threaten global markets.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Hillary Clinton

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United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been ranked No 2 in the Forbes list.

"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 traveled to 42 countries," the publication noted.

"The former US presidential candidate has faced 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 than his militant father," the report added.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Dilma Rousseff

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, 64, has been ranked No 3 in the Forbes list.

"The president of one of the world's largest economies is ambitious at the mid-point of her first term, launching two aggressive programs meant to reverse the still-strong but shrinking national GDP," the report stated.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Melinda Gates

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Melinda Gates, the 48-year-old Co Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been ranked No 4 in the Forbes list.

"When you have your name on the top of the world's wealthiest and most generous private foundation, challenging the Vatican to reverse its position against birth control makes news," the report stated.

"This summer Melinda Gates, a practicing Catholic, vowed to dedicate her life -- and an additional personal $560 million -- to improving access to contraception to women in some of the world's poorest countries," the report added.
 
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Photographs: Reuters

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Michelle Obama

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The US First Lady, 48, has been ranked No 7 in the Forbes list.

"More popular than her husband in this important election year, Michelle Obama's positive approval ratings register at 66 per cent while US President Barack Obama's term average has hovered just below 50 per cent," the report stated.

"The First Lady keeps a high profile with her mission to end childhood obesity, her commitment to military families and her stylish fashion picks," the report added.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Janet Napolitano

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Janet Napolitano, secretary, Department of Homeland Security, United States, has been ranked No.9 in the Forbes list.

"The first female head of the Department of Homeland Security, a position she took after serving as the governor of Arizona from 2003 to 2009, Janet Napolitano is at the helm of the third largest department in US politics, the report stated.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Oprah Winfrey

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World famous TV personality and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey has been ranked No.11 in the Forbes list.

"The Queen of Media has upped her on-air presence on 24-hour cable channel OWN, bringing in the network's biggest audiences with exclusive interviews with Whitney Houston's family, the Kardashian clan and fellow Power Woman Lady Gaga," the report stated.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Lady Gaga

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The 26-year-old American pop superstar has been ranked No 14 in the Forbes list.

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Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Gaga

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Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

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Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, 59, has been ranked No. 16 in the Forbes list.

"The second-term Argentine president caused a stir this summer when she approved advertisements for Argentina's Olympic team that disputed British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands," the report stated.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Aung San Suu Kyi

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The Nobel Peace Prize winner Burmese pro-democratic leader has been ranked No 19 in the Forbes list.

"While Aung San Suu Kyi resists being called an icon, it's easy to see why the leader of Burma's pro-democracy movement has been internationally regarded as such in 2012.

"Less than two years after being released from nearly two decades under house arrest, Suu Kyi was elected to Burma's parliament in an election where Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy took 43 of 45 open seats," the report stated.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Queen Elizabeth II

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British Monarch Queen Elizabeth II, 86, has been ranked No. 26 in the Forbes list.

"Queen Elizabeth has been commemorating her 60th diamond Jubilee anniversary with parades, parties and by making peace throughout the realm. In June she shook hands with former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness during a visit to Northern Ireland that was seen as a symbol of significant easing of tensions in British-Irish relations," the report stated.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Julia Gillard

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, 50, has been ranked No 27 in the Forbes list.

"With two year under her belt as the first female prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard oversees a population of 22 million and a GDP of $926 billion. This year, the Labour Party leader, who became an Australian citizen in 1974, has struggled with rising energy bills and illegal immigration: waves of asylum-seekers from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia," the report stated.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Nancy Pelosi

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Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of US House of Representatives, has been ranked No 28 in the Forbes list.

"The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and former Speaker of the House is the sole female voice at the table when congressional leaders meet with US President Obama," the report stated.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Yingluck Shinawatra

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Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, 45, has been ranked No 30 in the Forbes list.

"Thailand's prime minister oversees a country of 67 million with a 2011 GDP of $609 billion, the second largest economy in Southeast Asia," the report sated.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira

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American pop celebrity Beyonce Knowles, 30, has been ranked No 32 in the Forbes Most Influential Women in the World list.

Actress-cum-musical celebrity Jennifer Lopez and Columbian pop sensation Shakira have been ranked 38 and 40, respectively, in the Forbes list.

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Image: Beyonce Knowles
Photographs: Reuters

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Angelina Jolie

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American actress and philanthropist Angelina Jolie, 37, has been ranked 66 in the Forbes list.

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Photographs: Reuters

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J K Rowling

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British writer J K Rowling, the creator of the phenomenal Harry Potter books, has been ranked No 78 in the Forbes list.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

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Nobel laureate Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been ranked No 82 in the Forbes list.


Photographs: Reuters

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