1. Angela Merkel / Age 58
Most Powerful Woman for the second year in a row, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the “Iron Lady” of the European Union and the lead player in the euro zone economic drama that continues to threaten global markets. she has vowed to do everything in her power to preserve the 17-country EU.
2. Hillary Clinton / Age 64
Secretary of State
In keeping with her reputation as a no-nonsense diplomat, Hillary Clinton is spending her ﬁnal months as Secretary of State far from the campaign trail. Much of that time has been on the go: This year alone, she’s travelled to 51 countries. And she went viral: The Tumblr blog “Texts From Hillary” became a popular meme in April. Clinton has steadfastly said that she plans to leave her post as diplomat-in-chief at the end of the year.
3. Dilma Rousseff / Age 64
The president of the world’s eighth-largest economy is ambitious at the midpoint of her ﬁrst term, launching two aggressive programmes meant to reverse the still strong but shrinking national GDP. A second initiative focuses on business growth and innovation, including incentives for micro- and small businesses. A June poll put Rousseff’s approval rating at 77%, and she is predicted to win a second four-year term in 2014.
4. Melinda Gates / Age 48
Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
When you have your name on top of the world’s wealthiest and most generous private foundation, challenging the Vatican to reverse its position against birth control makes news. Melinda Gates, a practicing Catholic, has vowed to dedicate her life and a personal $560 million to improving access to contraception to women in poor countries. Last year, the charity gave away $2.6 billion and to date has committed over $25 billion in grant in poverty eradication, public health and education.
5. Jill Abramson / Age 58
Executive Editor, The New York Times
In year one as the ﬁrst woman at the top of The New York Times masthead, Jill Abramson has shuffled senior editorial staff and captained the 161-year-old publication through an ongoing digital transformation. At the South by SouthWest, a music and film festival, this year, the Harvard grad talked about her pride in being the ﬁrst female executive editor of the paper and the rise of individual journalistic brands on the site.
6. Sonia Gandhi / Age 65
President, Indian National Congress Party
Sonia Gandhi, the longest-serving chief in Indian National Congress Party history, has had to defend herself and the party after a spate of key Assembly polls this year. She was back in ﬁghting spirit last month when she publicly reprimanded a fellow MP who had criticised her party’s handling of this summer’s rioting in Assam. 7. Michelle
7.Obama / Age 48
More popular than her husband in this important election year, Michelle Obama has a positive approval rating of 66%, while the President’s average over his term has hovered just below 50%. This year, the Harvard Law School grad led the US Olympic delegation in July’s opening ceremony in London; penned a cofee table book, American Grown, about growing veggies and tomatoes on the South Lawn of the White House; and waged a war on sugary fruit juices as a part of her Let’s Move initiative.
8. Christine Lagarde / Age 56
Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
The ﬁrst woman to run the IMF has spent much of her ﬁrst year on the job battling the debt crisis in Europe. She’s been pushing for debt sharing and an increase in rescue funds from the European Union but has faced resistance from fellow Power Woman Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany. French-born Lagarde began her career at Chicago law ﬁrm Baker & McKenzie, where she specialised in labour and antitrust law. She returned to France in 2005 and was appointed ﬁnance minister in 2007.
9. Janet Napolitano / Age 54
Secretary of Homeland Security
The ﬁrst female head of the Department of Homeland Security is at the helm of the third-largest department in the US government widely considered one of Washington’s toughest jobs. Voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school in 1975, Napolitano has a history in local and state-level politics and law enforcement but says moving to the national stage was a natural progression. “You’ve got to widen your scope and shift priorities,” she tells Forbes, “to keep the nation’s borders secure.”
10. Sheryl Sandberg / Age 48
After four years as Facebook’s COO, Sandberg was named to the social network’s board of directors in June, the company's ﬁrst female board member. She owns nearly $1 billion of unvested stock in the company. One of few top women in tech, she has become the torchbearer for a generation of women hoping to balance high-proﬁle jobs with motherhood.