Business

These women became the most powerful in the world with money, media & more

By Oliver Smith 7 June 2016
Google's CFO Ruth Porat, Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg and Apple's Angela Ahrendts.
Summary

Bosses at Facebook, Apple and Google are among the 100 most powerful women in the world.

What does it take to become one of the most powerful women in the world?

This morning we celebrate the women who have fought against wage discrimination, a lack of representation at the top and our unconscious biases to make it to the top.

Forbes’ Most Powerful Women List 2016 it lists the 100 women who have used their power, influence and money this year to change our world.

And while German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen took the top three spots, there are some new faces climbing the ranks.

So who has made it in this year?

Facebook & Apple on top

Facebook’s operations chief Sheryl Sandberg rose to be the 7th most powerful women in the world this year, rising from No.8 on last year’s list, as her work empowering women in the workplace and book, Lean In, both continue to resonate with women everywhere.

Apple’s retail boss Angela Ahrendts jumped from 25th to 15th on this year’s list, having jumped ship from Burberry. Ahrendts has been widely credited with bringing a more fashion-focused and luxury edge to Apple’s products like its Watch and MacBooks which now come in more colours.

German chancellor Angela Merkel was once again named the most powerful woman in the world.

Meanwhile Google’s finance chief Ruth Porat keeps a low profile, but is climbing up the list at number 27 this year.

Politicians (25) and businesswomen (19) still dominate the rankings, offering solid role models to the next generation of female leaders. But 15 women from the world of technology made it into the top 100 this year, more great inspiration for young girls everywhere considering a future in tech.

Getting to the top

But how did these powerful women make it to the top? Forbes lists four key factors to becoming a world-leading woman.

Money (a seven-figure bank balance is table stakes), media (that’s your Facebook fans/Twitter followers/etc), impact (reach across industries, cultures and countries), and finally your sphere of influence (the people you affect).

If you have all those things, chances are you might one day make it into the coveted ranking.

2016 RANKING CATEGORY NAME TITLE COMPANY OR
ORGANISATION
AGE COUNTRY
1 Politics Angela Merkel Chancellor 61 Germany
2 Politics Hillary Clinton Presidential candidate 68 U.S.
3 Politics Janet Yellen Chair Federal Reserve 69 U.S.
4 Philanthropy Melinda Gates Cochair Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 51 U.S.
5 Business Mary Barra CEO General Motors 54 U.S.
6 Philanthropy Christine Lagarde Managing director International Monetary Fund 60 France
7 Technology Sheryl Sandberg COO Facebook 46 U.S.
8 Technology Susan Wojcicki CEO YouTube 47 U.S.
9 Technology Meg Whitman CEO HP 59 U.S.
10 Finance Ana Botin Chair Banco Santander 55 Spain

Britain’s finest

One of the standout stars of this year’s list is Britain’s doubling of its representatives on the Forbes list, now up to six powerful leading women.

The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon (No.50) jumped onto the list following her quick rise to prominence in the wake of last year’s Scottish referendum. Wellcome Trust chair and former head of MI5 Eliza Manningham-Buller (No.88) and The Economist’s new Editor-in-Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes (No.78), also joined Guardian editor Katharine Viner (No.68) and Queen Elizabeth II (No.29) in the top 100.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has quickly become one of the UK's most powerful women.

We’ve long called for more light to be shone on the women leaders and role models, both in and outside of technology, to inspire the millions of young girls to become the leaders of tomorrow that we need in business, politics and technology.

Forbes’ list is a great place to start.

Read more: Women in London, don’t miss out on this £8,000 coding scholarship

Read more: Britain is missing millions of entrepreneurial women Facebook finds