Female billionaires, politicians dominate Forbes 'Powerful Women' list

Female billionaires occupied many of the top spots in Forbes' annual list, 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.' Oprah Winfrey and other self-made female billionaires crowded the list, but two government figures (and one making her debut) took the top spots. 

Markus Schreiber/AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Merkel is once again the top-ranked woman on Forbes' annual 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Women' list, which also includes several self-made female billionaires.

Lady Gaga and Janet Yellen may seem like polar opposites, but they have something in common: they are two of the 100 women listed in Forbes’ annual “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list.

Forbes published the list Wednesday evening, marking its 10th anniversary. While it includes leaders in many industries, women in business and politics were the most represented at 21 each, while there were 19 from the technology sector. There are 13 billionaires, valued at $81 billion, and nine heads of states from around the world within the ranks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is No. 1 again this year. She has held the title for nine of the past 10 years. Federal Reserve chair  Janet Yellen made her debut on the list at No. 2, while philanthropist Melinda Gates, Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff, and International Monetary Fund managing director Christina Lagarde rounded out the top five.

Since Forbes’ inaugural list in 2004, eight women have made the cut every year, including Gates, Queen Elizabeth II and Oprah Winfrey. In this year’s list, there were 18 newcomers, including Ms. Yellen, Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina, and Lucy Peng, founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

And with newcomers, Forbes pushed several women off the list. Recently ousted New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson and Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney dropped off the list. Politicians Kathleen Sebelius, Sonia Gandhi, and Julia Gillard were also left out. 

The list has some diversity in its leaders. Fifty-eight of the 100 women are American, including those who immigrated to the US. There are 23 Asian and Southeast Asian citizens, but only nine women represent Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East combined.

Forbes had to narrow down from a preliminary group of more than 250 candidates. To determine who got on the list and how high they ranked, Forbes used four metrics –money, media presence, spheres of influence, and impact – to rank the women in eight categories.

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