We've selected 100 women go beyond the traditional classifications of the power elite.By Caroline Howard, Forbes Staff
For our 10th annual Forbes Power Women list, our mission is to redefine power. We've selected 100 women go beyond the traditional classifications of the power elite (political and economic might). They are actually shifting our very idea of clout and authority and transforming the world and in exhilarating and novel ways. This annual snapshot of the 100 women with impact are top politicians and CEOs, activist billionaires and celebrities who matter. In roughly equal measure you'll find next gen entrepreneurs, technologists and philanthropists -all ranked by dollars, media momentum and impact (see full methodology here).
This year the list features eight heads of state -- including our No. 1 for the eighth time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- who run nations with a combined GDP of $9.9 trillion. The 24 corporate CEOs control $893 billion in revenues and of 16% of the women here have founded their own companies, including two new billionaires to the list, Tory Burch and Spanx's Sara Blakely. Speaking of, this year's class has 14 billionaires. 100 women on the 2013 list have major reach: a combined Twitter following of over 153 million.
The Top 10 Most Powerful Women
Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany
The world's most powerful woman is the backbone of the 27-member European Union and carries the fate of the euro on her shoulders. Merkel's hard-line austerity prescription for easing the European debt crisis has been challenged by both hard-hit southern countries and the more affluent north, most particularly French President Francois Hollande. Merkel has served as chancellor since 2005, the first woman in the position, but her biggest challenge may still lie ahead: she is running for a third term this fall's general elections. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: Merkel has earned the top spot on the FORBES list of Most Powerful Women In The World for eight of the past 10 years.
Dilma Rousseff, President, Brazil
Now at the midpoint of her first term, the former revolutionary sits atop the world's seventh-largest national economy (GDP $2.4 trillion). Despite Brazil's size, Rousseff is tasked with pulling the country out of its slowest two years of growth in more than a decade. Her emphasis on entrepreneurship has inspired a new generation of startups, however many criticize the leader for favoring pro-development policy over more humanitarian concerns. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: Rousseff has a new ally in the first-ever Brazilian director-general of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Azevedo, who was confirmed in Geneva in early May.
Melinda Gates, Cochair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S.
Primary goals for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this year have been to eradicate polio worldwide by 2018 and get modern contraceptives to another 120 million women by 2020; the Foundation has committed $140 million annually to this cause. In 2012 a particular emphasis was placed on devising tools for quantifying the success of initiatives as governments increasingly look for proof of the efficacy of the programs they pay for. "Some of the projects we fund will fail," the Gates say on the Foundation website of their own financial commitments. "We not only accept that, we expect it because we think an essential role of philanthropy is to make bets on promising solutions that governments and businesses can't afford to make." 2013 SPOTLIGHT: The Gates Foundation gave away $3.4 billion last year, the vast majority to global health programs, and has made more than $26 billion in grant commitments since the Foundation's 2000 founding.
Michelle Obama, First Lady, U.S.
The Harvard grad and former corporate attorney (and husband Barack Obama's boss) actively uses her platform as first lady to fight childhood obesity and promote healthier eating and lifestyles. With 67% of Americans viewing Michelle Obama in a positive light, she's more popular than her husband by far (47%) -- likely because she spends more time laughing on TV than running the country. This year alone she's appeared on the shows of Katie Couric and Jimmy Fallon and announced the Best Picture for the Academy Awards. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: At a keynote address in March, she kept it real, saying "It wasn't that long ago that I was juggling a demanding job with two small children and a husband who traveled.
Hillary Clinton, Former Secretary of State, U.S.
The whole world is watching: Will Hillary run? Clinton has a CV full of firsts: She is the only first lady to become a U.S. senator turned viable presidential candidate turned secretary of state. Now a private citizen, she holds her position as one of the most powerful women on the planet with all bets on that she will be the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and likely next leader of the free world. The polls don't lie. Sixty-five percent of Democratics say they'll vote Team Hillary, while another poll has her beating the two Republican forerunners by 52%. Her only speed bump now is the Benghazi controversy. And while Bill Clinton calls speculation about his wife's intention to run as "the worst expenditure of our time," she's done little to quiet the chatter, including hitting the speaking circuit last month at an estimated $200,000 fee per event and inking a reported $14 million book deal. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: Super PAC Ready for Hillary, launched in April, has nearly 150,000 Facebook likes, over 60,000 Twitter followers and more than 1,000 financial contributions.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook, U.S.
Facebook's COO incited a new conversation on feminism in the workplace with her March 2013 book, "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead." The manifesto sold nearly 150,000 copies in its first week and has held the top non-fiction spot on bestseller lists since. But Sandberg's biggest success of the year may have happened right in Menlo Park. After adding ads to its mobile news feed, Facebook earned more U.S. mobile revenue than any other publisher in 2012, with an 18.4% share of the entire market. The April release of "Home," the new Facebook phone, will reportedly allow companies to send advertising directly to users' smartphones even if the home screen is locked. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: One year after Facebook's initial public offering, the company's stock is down roughly 30%.
Christine Lagarde, Managing director, I.M.F., France
The first woman to run the 188-country financial organization spent much of her first two years on the job battling the debt crisis in Europe and calling for ailing global economies to accelerate steps for stable growth. Her push for debt-sharing between EU nations and an increase in rescue funds has faced resistance from fellow power woman Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany. French-born Lagarde was a labor and antitrust attorney in the U.S. before a six-year stint as French finance minister. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: Tongues are wagging that she may make a run for the French presidency.
Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Homeland Security, U.S.
Helms the third largest department in U.S. politics, overseeing a budget of $48 billion, a staff of 240,000 and 22 agencies, including FEMA, Customs, INS, the Secret Service and cyber security, which she describes as the fastest-growing threat to the country. Napolitano describes her leadership style as "keep[ing] your eye on long-term vision while dealing with the crisis du jour." 2013 SPOTLIGHT: At the Forbes Women's Summit in May, Napolitano said, "At such a critical time for our country, the participation of women in our political process has never been more important." She took on the position as the first female head of Homeland Security after serving as the third female governor of Arizona from 2003 to 2009.
Sonia Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress party, India
As the longest-serving chief of India's ruling political party, Gandhi has the reins of the world's second-most-populous country and tenth-largest economy. Rumors persist over a rift between her and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with many expecting Singh to leave office before the 2014 general elections. Son Rahul is next in line to take over India's most famous political dynasty. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: In May it was announced that women commandos of the elite Special Protection Group may soon be guarding Gandhi, her daughter Priyanka Vadra, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife, Gursharan Kaur.
Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo, U.S.
Nooyi has been busy pushing changes through PepsiCo this year. For starters, she boosted quarterly results -- revenue jumped 1.2% to $13 billion -- with higher prices and sales of the company's snacks like Doritos and Cheetos. Under her urging, PepsiCo is researching a new sweetener that could result in trading places with rival No. 1 Coca-Cola. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: Her total compensation dropped 17% after the company phased out option awards for top executives and offered stock awards for long-term performance.