Every year, Forbes ranks the most powerful female influencers on the planet. And with each passing year, that list is getting more diverse. This year, there are an impressive amount of STEM pioneers, political leaders, self-made billionaires—and for the first time ever—a 25-year-old.
Taylor Swift is the youngest woman EVER to be included on Forbes‘ list of most powerful women. Out of 100 women, Taylor has clocked in at #64 because she has “not only broken record sales and captivated the world with her fantastically honest lyrics, but she has proved herself as an impressive businesswoman,” according to Forbes.
Swift, may be the youngest, but she’s not the only trailblazer on the list. This year’s roundup includes 8 heads of state, 24 CEOs and 15 billionaires. As the magazine notes, nearly half of the women in the top 100 are “firsts”—including Drew Gilpin Faust, the first female president of Harvard, and Folorunsho Alakija, the first self-made African billionaire.
To compile the list, editors first round up 300 people in eight different categories—billionaires, business, celebrity, finance, media, philanthropy and intergovernmental organizations, politics and technology—and whittle the list down to 100 based on four metrics: money, media presence, spheres of influence, and impact. (For more information on the ranking system, check out the breakdown here.)
So who’s number one? This year, German chancellor Angela Merkel took the top spot on the list. We’re not surprised. It’s actually the TENTH year in a row that she’s clinched the title of Forbes’ most powerful woman for her incredible political prowess. “There’s only one woman who has a chance of endangering [Angela Merkel’s] tenure as No. 1 in 2016 — the world’s No. 2 most powerful woman,” writes Forbes. That’s because numero dos is presidential candidate Hillary Clinton . . . we see what you’re getting at, Forbes!
The third woman on the list is Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (and half of a SERIOUS power couple, guys) who has “cemented her dominance in philanthropy and global development.” Several social media and tech giants also landed in the top ten, such as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandburg and Youtube/Google CEO Susan Wojcicki.
The first female head of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, also dominated the list at #4. “With so much at stake, a single word from Yellen can send asset prices swinging,” claims Forbes, “but she received praise in March 2015 when she managed to change guidance without spooking investors.”
Michelle Obama rang in at #10, and Forbes is quick to point out that she wasn’t chosen for her husband’s position at the Oval Office. “First Lady Michelle Obama has her own power seat in the White House,” Forbes states.
We are also totally blown away by the self-made founder of Biocon Ltd., Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (#85), as well as the founder of Epic Systems, Judy Faulkner (#88). Can’t get enough of wonderful, powerful women in science.
Speaking of women in the STEM fields, the amazing 31-year-old Elizabeth Holmes came in at #72. The founder and CEO of Theranos, a blood-testing company, is also the world’s youngest woman self-made billionaire. Let’s take a sec to describe how truly awesome Elizabeth Holmes is: she was initially motivated to detect diseases earlier when her uncle passed away from cancer, propelling her to drop out of Stanford to start her massively successful company.
There’s also our queen, Beyonce, at #21, who is the highest-ranked entertainer on the list and was #1 on last year’s Powerful Celebrities list. A few others: Ellen DeGeneres, #50; Angelina Jolie, #54; Sofia Vergara, #57. . . and that’s just to name a few.
Check out the entire list here and marvel at some of the most high-functioning humans making this world go ’round.