Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

First Lady 'most powerful woman'

America's first lady Michelle Obama was named the world's most powerful woman (AP)

America's first lady Michelle Obama has been named the world's most powerful woman in a list that sees the Queen placed a lowly 41st.

The Queen - the only British national to feature in the top 100 - ranks below the likes of Carla Bruni, Angela Merkel and Lady Gaga in the index compiled by business magazine Forbes.

Formidable females from the US dominate the top 10, with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey placed third and Kraft chief executive Irene Rosenfeld one place ahead of her.

According to Forbes, this year's index was based less on traditional calculations of wealth and position, and more on creative influence and entrepreneurship.

German chancellor Angela Merkel is the top-ranked European, placed fourth. Fellow political heavyweight US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is one place below her in fifth.

Singers Lady Gaga and Beyonce Knowles also figure amongst the top 10 most powerful women, placed seventh and ninth. Lower down the list, France's first Lady Carla Bruni comes in at 35th, while model Heidi Klum is at 39.

Although the Queen is the only British national to feature in the top 100, she is joined by a handful of UK-based businesswomen. Of those, Anglo-American's chief executive Cynthia Carroll is the highest ranked, at 14th.

Burberry boss Angela Ahrendts and British citizen Dame Marjorie Scardino, of publishing firm Pearson are placed 97th and 63rd respectively.

Commenting on this year's entrants, Moira Forbes, vice president and publisher of ForbesWoman, said: "The women on our list, through their respective realms of power and influence, are shaping many of the agenda-setting conversations of our day, and have become dynamic catalysts for driving meaningful change across the world.

"They have built companies and brands, sometimes by non-traditional means and they have broken through gender barriers in areas of commerce, politics, sports and media and cultural zeitgeist, and thereby affecting the lives of millions, sometimes billions of people."

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