Michelle Obama, Oprah, Ursula Burns Among ‘Forbes’ Most Powerful Women In The World

May 23, 2013  |  

Forbes’ list of the Most Powerful Women in the world is here, and First Lady Michelle Obama comes in at number four, just behind German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates.

Forbes says the list is a look at the “next gen” of powerful women, which includes everything from heads of state to “billionaire philanthropists.”

“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,” the magazine says.

Specifically with reference to Melinda Gates (because we wondered why she came in higher than FLOTUS), the profile noted that her organization’s goals include eradicating polio by 2018 and getting “modern contraception” to 120 million women by 2020. Her foundation gave away $3.4 billion in 2012.

Queen Elizabeth is at number 40, so you don’t have to be a monarch with a fortress and a museum full of jewels to make it to the top of the list.

Oprah Winfrey is at number 13, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns is at number 14, and Beyonce is at number 17.

Forbes’ prominence in the list-making business aside, the story does bring up the question of how we define power nowadays. Clearly, it’s not just political achievement or business prowess. The ability to move people in a way that inspires big things is also taken into account.

Who would you put on this list?


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