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Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women

Categories: Women in Business

Forbes recently released its annual “100 Most Powerful Women” list.

I talked a few blog posts back about Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In, and her contention that women still don’t make up anywhere near enough of the top, “power” spots in the corporate world or politics.

The statistics agree with Ms. Sandberg, in terms of percentage of female corporate executives overall, and the imbalance in gender when it comes to salaries.

But it’s great to see this list of women who have made it to the top of their fields, including nine female heads of state in countries with a combined GDP of $11.8 trillion! And 24 corporate CEOs who control $893 billion in annual revenues. Even more heartening, 16 of the women on the list are entrepreneurs who founded their own companies, including billionaires Tory Burch and Spanx’s Sara Blakely.

In case you are wondering how Forbes makes up this list, the magazine considers three factors: money (this could be either personal income, a business’s revenue, or GDP, depending on the category), media presence (news hits, TV and radio appearances and social media), and impact (meaning "the extent of their reach across industries, cultures and countries, numbers of spheres of influence and people they affect, and how actively they wield their power," according to Forbes).

To elaborate further, Forbes selects women who "go beyond the traditional taxonomy of the power elite. These change-agents are actually shifting our very idea of clout and authority and, in the process, transforming the world in fresh and exhilarating ways."

These women are an inspiring, global bunch, with varying professions and interests, and different ways of wielding their power. I recommend taking a look at this list -- for its inspiration value, and the proof that when it comes to women’s equality, things are changing rapidly. A hearty “shout-out” to all the women who appeared on this list -- I’m thrilled for you all.

Are you interested in being a power player in your own field?

What I found interesting is that different women rose to the top and made it onto this list in such varying ways. Hillary Clinton and German Chancellor Angela Merkel used politics as their vehicle. Oprah Winfrey and Diane Sawyer rose through the media. Entertainers like Angelina Jolie use the money and fame garnered by their primary careers -- in her case, acting -- to do philanthropic works and bring attention to charitable causes.

One of the messages I got from perusing this list was that there is no shortage of ways to make your mark, to be heard, to be an influencer and a leader, to change the world in a small or large way, regardless of what your passions or interests are.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” -- Margaret Mead

Do you feel that ambition is still a dirty word for women? Or, are you interested in making an indelible mark on your field, your community, or the entire world? I’d love to hear your comments.

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