Women in various fields keep raising the bar and elevating their status in society. We look at five women who are leaders in their respective fields; and are motivating younger women. The fields in which these women thrive are predominantly led by men. This list is based on the latest Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list, which was revealed in 2016.
Leading the 2016’s ranking is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been a force in politics and foreign affairs for over 15 years. She became Germany’s first female chancellor. She has a Doctorate in Quantum Chemistry.
During the G20 women’s conference in Berlin, Merkel mentioned that she does not identity as a feminist. She said: “To be honest the history of feminism is one with which I have common ground, but also differences. I don’t want to embellish myself with a title I don’t have.”
She is the leader of the liberal-conservative party – the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU). In 2015, Merkel pledged to give refuge to Syrians in Germany during the European migrant crisis.
According to Forbes, Merkel steered her country through a recession with subsidies and other packages for companies that cut hours for workers, which resulted in Germany entering 2016 with a budget surplus of €12,1 billion (R188 billion). This led to Germany receiving a AAA rating from credit-rating agencies.
Gwynne Shotwell, aged 54, is the president and COO of SpaceX, an aerospace company. She is one of the most powerful women in the construction and engineering field.
In 2011, she was awarded by the World Technology Network, scooping the World Technology Award for Individual Achievement in Space. Now she runs the daily operations of SpaceX, with goals. She was listed number 76 on Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
A producer, director, actress, author and owner of a television network OWN, Oprah Winfrey started off as a news anchor. She says: “I had no idea what I was in for or that this was going to be the greatest growing period of my adult life.”
Forbes listed Winfrey at number 21. With a net worth of US$ 3,1 billion (over R40 billion), Winfrey is credited as producer of OWN’s drama series The Haves and The Have Nots, written and directed by her close friend, Tyler Perry.
After ending her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, in 2011, she ventured into creating other shows, including Oprah’s Next Chapter, Oprah’s Master Class and others. One of her latest offerings was a film The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
According to Forbes, Winfrey “has focused her philanthropy on education.” She established an all-girls school in South Africa with a number of its students continuing on to university.
CEO of General Motors (GM), Mary Barra is listed at number five on the Forbes list. She’s been a leader in a male-dominated industry, as GM’s CEO, since 2015. According to Forbes, Barra has driven strong domestic sales, steady performance in Europe and new growth in China’s SUV and luxury markets.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook‘s chief operating officer since 2008, has gone to prove that not only Mark Zuckerberg is behind one of the world’s leading social media platforms. On her resume includes six years as a vice-president at Google.
Sandberg’s net-worth is around US$ 1,71 billion (R22 billion). She has also criticized the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, after passing the travel ban and anti-abortion measures. She is a mother of two.
What are your thoughts on 2016 Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women? Any powerful women you believe will make it on the 2017 list? Tell us in the comments below!