People used to say that behind every man’s success is a woman. Well, times have changed and women have now been extremely successful in their own right. The days when women were not treated equally as men are slowly melting away. And rightly so, because women have proven to be just as adept and capable, if not even better, than men in solving a problem and handling a situation. They have the women’s touch, indeed.
Here is a list of the top 10 most powerful women in the world.
1. Angela Merkel, Germany
She is the first woman to become Chancellor of Germany. She also heads the ruling Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, party. A physical chemist by profession, she was elected to the Bundestag in 1990 after the reunification of Germany. She represented a constituency in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. She then served in then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s cabinet. She became Chancellor in 2005. She was President of the European Council in 2007 and chaired the G8 that same year. She is the de factor leader of the European Union and plays a key role in managing the financial crisis that hit several members of the EU.
2. Hillary Clinton, United States
She is the 67th Secretary of State of the United States, though her successor has already been nominated in John Kerry. She used to be the country’s First Lady when her husband, Bill Clinton, served as President from 1992 to 2000. Hillary was then elected as Senator of New York from 2001 to 2009. She sought the nomination of the Democratic Party for the presidential elections of 2008 but lost out to Barack Obama. Obama then appointed her as Secretary of the State upon his assumption to the White House. Hillary has been at the forefront of the American response to hotspots around the world, including the Middle East when the Arab Spring broke out.
3. Dilma Rousseff, Brazil
She is the current President of Brazil, the first woman to assume the office after getting elected in 2010. She succeeded Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whom she had served as Chief of Staff. She used to be a Marxist guerilla and fought the military dictatorships of the country in the 1970s. She was arrested and tortured. She then established the Democratic Labour Party with her husband Carlos Araujo. She now heads a country that is booming economically.
4. Melinda Gates, United States
She is the wife of Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. She used to be the Project Manager for Microsoft Bob, Microsoft Encarta and Expedia. She has bachelor’s degrees in computer science and economics and a master’s degree in business administration, all from Duke University. She established with her husband the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She has been recognized for her charity and philanthropy in the fields of health and education, even as she strives to help eradicate poverty.
5. Jill Abramson, United States
She is the executive editor of The New York Times, the first time a woman has assumed the post in the rich 160-year history of the famous publication. She has a degree in History and Literature from Harvard University. She was the paper’s chief for its Washington D. C. bureau in 2003 during a turbulent time when the country was preparing for the war in Iraq.
6. Sonia Gandhi, India
She belongs to the famous Nehru-Gandhi family of India. She is the widow of the former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1991. The Italian-born Sonia stayed away from politics after that. She finally heeded the clamor for her to be involved in 1998, when she was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress, one of the major political parties of the country. After her reelection as President of the party in 2010, she has become the longest-serving president in the 125 years of the party.
7. Michelle Obama, United States
She is the First Lady of the United States, the wife of the 44th President Barack Obama. Raised in Chicago, Michelle is a product of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She is considered a fashion icon and role model for women around the world. She has become an advocate for poverty awareness, nutrition and healthy eating. She has also expressed support for military and working families.
8. Christine Lagarde, France
She has been the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund since July 2011, becoming the first woman to ever land the job. She was also the first woman to serve as Minister of Finance of France or of any G8 economy for that matter. Prior to that, she also served in the French cabinet in various capacities. Including Minister of Economic Affairs, Finances and Industry and Minister of Agriculture and Fishing. She is a noted lawyer whose specialty includes cases involving anti trust and labor laws. She was once recognized as the best Minister of Finance in the European Union.
9. Janet Napolitano, United States
She is the Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States, assuming the office in January 2009. She used to be the Attorney General of Arizona, the first woman to ever serve in that post. She became Governor of Arizona in 2003, a position she held until 2009. She was the first woman ever to win reelection in the state. She has been with the Obama cabinet since the administration took office.
10. Sheryl Sandberg, United States
She is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. She has also been elected director of the social media giant, the first woman to serve on its board. She used to be a Vice President for Google, handling Global Online Sales and Operations. Prior to that, Sandberg also served as Chief of Staff for the Department of Treasury of the United States. She has an Economics degree from Harvard, where she graduated with summa cum laude honors. She also has an MBA from the same school, graduating in 1995 with the highest distinction.