German Chancellor Angela Merkel named 'most powerful woman'

Ranking the world's most powerful women

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the world's most powerful woman, according to Forbes magazine's annual survey.

The chancellor, who also headed last year's list, is joined at the top by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is in second place.

Mrs Merkel is noted for her role in trying to resolve the eurozone debt crisis, as leader of Europe's biggest economy.

Meanwhile, the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, comes in third.

The survey ranks women - mostly policymakers, businesswomen and celebrities - according to influence, wealth and media presence.

Forbes' Top Ten

  • Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
  • Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, United States
  • Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian President
  • Melinda Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Jill Abramson, Executive Editor, New York Times Co
  • Sonia Gandhi, President, National Congress Party in India
  • Michelle Obama, First Lady, United States
  • Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
  • Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, United States
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

"These power women exert influence in very different ways and to very different ends, and all with very different impacts on the global community," said Moira Forbes, president and publisher of Forbes Woman.

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jill Abramson, the executive editor of New York Times, also make the top five.

The list of 100 come from 28 countries and have an average age of 55. It includes 25 CEOs overseeing $984bn (£623bn) in revenues.

Among those who made it onto the list for the first time are singer Jennifer Lopez and philanthropist and widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II came in at 26th place, and was also the oldest on the list, at 86 years old. Singer Lady Gaga was the youngest, at only 26 years old, and coming 14th.

Mrs Merkel "is the 'Iron Lady' of the European Union and the lead player in the eurozone economic drama that continues to threaten global markets," Forbes said.

"As Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal have teetered on the brink of an economic collapse, she has vowed to do everything in her power to preserve the 17-country EU."

Meanwhile, Mrs Clinton, the magazine says, "has had a formidable past 12 months" as America's secretary of state, handling issues such as Wikileaks, the Syrian conflict and North Korea.

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