5. Mary Barra
Barra is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors Company. Barra was elected Chairman of the GM Board of Directors on January 4, 2016, and has served as CEO of GM since January 15, 2014. The promotion came as no surprise: Barra, a 36-year veteran of the company, has driven strong domestic sales, steady performance in Europe and new growth in China’s SUV and luxury markets. It’s a noticeable comeback for the automaker, which only two years ago was contending with the recall of 30 million cars.
4. Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which strives to improve global health and education. She has cemented her dominance in philanthropy and global development to the tune of $4.2 billion in giving in 2015 and more than $36.7 billion in grant payments since she founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with her husband in 2000.
3. Janet Yellen
Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, has been reluctant to raise domestic interest rates. Since beginning her tenure in 2014, she has hiked rates just twice, including a tweak in December 2016.
2. Hillary Clinton
When Hillary Clinton was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2001, she became the first American first lady to ever win a public office seat. She later became the 67th U.S. secretary of state in 2009, serving until 2013. In 2016, she became the first woman in U.S. history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party.
1. Angela Merkel
As populist, right-wing political movements spring up around the world, many have labeled Germany’s Chancellor as the last bastion of Western liberal power. Merkel, who faces a challenging reelection bid in 2017, has been tasked with maintaining a united European front in the wake of Brexit, balancing growing Russian influence on the continent and managing more than 1 million migrants who have entered Germany in recent years.