German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are the world’s most powerful women, according to Forbes magazine’s annual survey.
Following the two stateswomen in the 2012 rankings was Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.
The list covers women in fields as diverse as politics, business, media, entertainment and non-profits, their rankings determined by calculating wealth, media presence and overall impact.
The 100-strong list at www.forbes.com/power-women includes 25 CEOs overseeing $984-billion in revenues. The women come from a total of 28 countries, with an average age of 55.
Sixteen women enter the list for the first time, including singer Jennifer Lopez, former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo.
Pop singer Lady Gaga (in 14th spot) is the youngest, at 26. The oldest, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, who is 86, ranks only at number 26.
Others in the top tier include U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (ranked seventh) and Indian President Sonia Gandhi (ranked sixth). The first female executive editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson, ranked fifth, while influential philanthropist Melinda Gates is ranked fourth.
For Ms. Merkel, the top spot comes for the second year in a row and reflects her role in trying to resolve the European Union’s financial crisis. She “is the ‘Iron Lady’ of the European Union and the lead player in the euro-zone economic drama that continues to threaten global markets,” Forbes said.
Ms. Clinton, the magazine says, “has had a formidable past 12 months” and is set to resign at the end of they year.
Another major U.S. political figure, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, makes ninth on the list. She is also the first female head of that department.
“This year’s 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 of ForbesWoman.
“Whether leading multibillion-dollar companies, governing countries, shaping the cultural fabric of our lives, or spearheading humanitarian initiatives, collectively these women are changing the planet in profoundly powerful and dynamic ways.”