Yes, it’s been a week since I last posted and look at that – and no war has broken out in the Middle East!
So I hurry to alert your attention to the recently published list compiled by FORBES, ranking the 100 most “powerful” women in the world. So we can segway back into the conversation about gender… Here’s the list. I figured you’d like to see the top 10:
Secretary of State, United States
Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Executive Editor, New York Times Co.
President, Indian National Congress, India
First Lady, United States
Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, United States
(Source: Forbes 2012)
Note that the four most influential ladies are regular mentions here at the Gates…
I think Forbes had a weird day though, when someone tagged Christine Lagarde as “Humanitarian”. The word is LEADING FINANCIAL STRATEGIST. I’ve asked the editor, Caroline Howard, on Twitter what’s going on (Update below!)
If you are like me, you immediately scroll to the bottom though — to see who’s nr 100. It’s Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani, a 29-year-old Chair, Qatar Museums Authority, Qatar. Her profile seems to indicate that her family relations with the Emir has more to do with her influence than her job.
I have always felt ambiguous about lists like this. It’s so reductive. And really says more about people defining what ‘power’ than it does about who has power. (Beyond the considerable cultural power of being the one defining anything…). So I don’t know why Merkel is more powerful than Clinton this year. Perhaps because Clinton is leaving politics while Merkel most likely has a few more years before stepping down? And part of the political power is linked to people following you because they bank on you one day excersising more influence and they should therefore be on your good side. Dunno.
Caroline Ceniza-Levine penned a nice analysis of the list: Career Lessons From The Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women Rankings (Forbes, Aug. 26, 2012)
This might seem superhuman to the everyday person but it shouldn’t discourage you from drawing attention to yourself and your accomplishments. There are numerous examples in the list of women given executive positions because their past accomplishments were noticed or given media prominence because they spoke up in some way. These women were not just discovered toiling away in a cubicle – they were putting themselves out there.
UPDATE: Reply from Howard. Much appreciated!