Forbes has just come out with its 100 Most Powerful Women list for 2007.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the list, with Condoleeza Rice only coming in at number four. Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi is #2, and Singapore's state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings' CEO (and wife of Singapore prime minister) Ho Ching is third.
The rest of the list includes 5 multinational corporate executives and only 1 national political executive (Sonia Gandhi).
What does this say about women's power? For starters, there still isn't very much of it. Angela Merkel is clearly considered the most powerful because, as the political leader of the nation that leads the European Union, she has the power to affect the sociopolitical course of an international group--as opposed to mainly affecting only her own nation. In that light, it's disturbing that Rice--the foreign minister of the world's only military superpower--has fallen to third, reflecting on her actual ability to affect presidential policy.
It's telling that there are only four political leaders among the top ten. In the rest of the list, 62 of the top 100 are business leaders, and only 28 are political leaders--including governmental agency executives and dissidents. It would seem that business is a surer path to power for women than politics.
Speaking of powerful women, Women's Initiative will be presenting former Irish President and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson on September 17. She will be speaking from 7-8 pm at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and the event is free. Please join us!