TIME's 100 Most Influential People — How Many Are Mothers?

How many of TIME's most influential people are mothers?How many of TIME's most influential people are mothers?I learned a lot clicking through TIME's 2012 list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, available on newsstands today in the first ever perfect-bound edition of the magazine. The ninth annual list includes 54 international figures from 37 countries, more than any previous TIME 100. Additionally, there are 38 women on the 2012 TIME 100, more than ever before. There are individuals of every political affiliation and possible profession on the list, from civil rights advocates to comedians like Chelsea Handler, Louis CK and Stephen Colbert. (The list isn't presented in any particular order of influence, but Colbert's profile does appear last, in the "number one" slot.)

In examining the lives of the women on the list, I discovered, perhaps unsurprisingly, that several of the most influential women in the world are childless, seemingly by choice. I wondered accordingly if perhaps it was easier for women to rise to positions of power without the burden of having to raise kids. Take Virginia M. Rometty, named to the list as a result of her role as CEO at IBM, who has no children and "a husband with the time and flexibility to support her career," according to a profile of her in The New York Times, which also states that of the 29 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, 27 are married but only 18 of them have children. "While impressive, that's a far lower rate than the 87 percent of married women in the population at large who have children of their own," the Times reports.

Related: The 19 most powerful women in the world... who are also moms

While researching Madam Chen Lihua - one of China's female billionaires - I learned that several of the world's female self-made billionaires are Chinese. The Financial Times attributes that to the fact that "Working mothers in China are able to aim high, in part because they have more shoulders to lean on than their American and European peers when it comes to childcare." (They also work an average of 71 hours a week. Yikes.) Madam Lihua, however, appears not to have had any children.

A few of the women in this year's TIME 100 are not mothers in the traditional sense, but have dedicated their lives to working with children, like India's Anjali Gopalan, who raises orphans at Naz, her South Delhi-based orphanage for children living with AIDS. But how many of the 38 most influential women in the world actually have children? Only 12. Here are the first 8:

Hilary Clinton1. Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton is the US Secretary of State, a former first lady and the mother of daughter Chelsea. Though she lost her presidential bid to Barack Obama in 2008, a Politico poll shows her as being the top Democratic candidate for 2016. Maybe the US will join Argentina and Brazil in having a female president finally!

Viola DavisViola Davis2. Viola Davis
Viola Davis is a Tony Award-winning actress who has appeared on Broadway in King Hedley II and Fences. She's appeared in the feature films Traffic, Antwone Fisher and Solaris and is best known for her Academy Award-nominated appearances in the films Doubt and The Help. Davis trained at Juilliard and is a mother of three, to one adopted daughter who she is raising with her husband Julius Tennon, and his two sons.

Related: 10 things to thank feminists for (and 10 that still need work)

Manal al-SharifManal al-Sharif3. Manal al-Sharif

Manal al-Sharif, a 32-year-old mother of two, has become the face of the movement encouraging women in Saudi Arabia to drive. Saudi women are barred from driving, so as TIME notes, "even picking up the dry cleaning is considered subversive." al-Sharif was jailed for nine days last Spring after posting a video on YouTube of herself driving.

Sheryl SandbergSheryl Sandberg4. Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of a little website called Facebook. So she's pretty much your best friend you've never met. Sandberg, 42, is described by Muhtar Kent as "a devoted, hands-on mother of two," who, according to CNN, leaves the office every day at 5:30 on the dot so she can spend time with her kids.

Related: 24 things I can't do now that I have kids

Sara BlakelySara Blakely5. Sara Blakely

Sara Blakely invented Spanx, so you should definitely count her up there with Sheryl Sandberg in the BFFs you've never met department. Blakely is also the world's youngest self-made billionaire at just 41 years old. She started her company with only $5,000. Now that's resourcefulness! Blakely is the mother of a 3-year-old boy, Lazer Blake Itzler.

Maria das Gracas Silva FosterMaria das Gracas Silva Foster6. Maria das Graças Silva Foster
Maria das Graças Silva Foster is the new CEO of Brazil's Petrobras and the first woman to run a major oil-and-gas company. Foster, 58, is married and has two children.

14 things you should never say to a woman

Cecile RichardsCecile Richards7. Cecile Richards

If you're like me, you feel like you somehow know Cecile Richards, since you get emails from her all the time. Richards is the president of Planned Parenthood, the daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards and a mother of three living in New York City.

Tilda SwintonTilda Swinton8. Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton is 51 years old, though her face seems ageless, her look timeless. She is an Academy Award-winning actress for her role in Michael Clayton, and she's appeared in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Burn After Reading, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Deep End and We Need to Talk About Kevin, a film about a fictional school massacre. In real life, Swinton is the mother of twins.

- By Carolyn Castiglia
Follow Carolyn on Babble

For the 4 more of TIME's most influential women who are also mothers, visit Babble!


20 ways to make your life more manageable
The 10 worst things you can say to a mom
7 reasons it's good to be a "mean mom"
The 10 biggest secrets parents hide from their kids
25 vintage ads that scream SEXISM

Babble | Babble.comStay connected. Follow Babble on Facebook and Twitter.