Who are the world’s most powerful women?


From leadership positions in government, business, philanthropy and the media, women around the globe have trailblazed paths in many sectors. This article showcases five of the most influential women in the world, and highlights what has made each of them so successful.

1. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany in 2005 and is currently serving her fourth term. Merkel remains the de facto leader of Europe, leading the region’s largest economy after steering Germany through financial crisis and back to growth.

One of our favourite Angela Merkel quotes: “The question is not whether we are able to change but whether we are changing fast enough.”

2. Christine LaGarde, Head of the European Central Bank

Lagarde became the first woman to head the European Central Bank on November 1, 2019. From 2011 until mid-2019, Lagarde ran the International Monetary Fund that works to ensure the stability of the global monetary system. She was the first woman to hold that position.

One of our favourite Christine LaGarde, quotes: “Every day, you have to prove yourself and convince – move forward and challenge yourself. And doubt all the time.”

3. Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Gates maintains her position as most powerful woman in philanthropy as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She’s increasingly visible in shaping foundation strategy, solving tough global challenges from education and poverty to contraception and sanitation.

One of our favourite Melinda Gates quotes: “I think it’s very important that we instill in our kids that it has nothing to do with their name or their situation that they’re growing up in; it has to do with who they are as an individual.”

4. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook 

As Chief Operating Officer at Facebook since 2008, she led the social media company from a $56 million loss to $22.1 billion in profits in 2018. Her focus on positioning Facebook as a platform for small business advertising helped increase ad revenue by 38% during 2018.

One of our favourite Sheryl Sandberg quotes: “I feel really grateful to the people who encouraged me and helped me develop. Nobody can succeed on their own.”

5. Oprah Winfrey, media star and business entrepreneur

Oprah Winfrey has transitioned her hit talk show, which ran for 25 years, into a media and business empire. In 2011, Winfrey launched cable channel OWN. Her 25.5% of the network is worth about $75 million.In June 2018, she signed a deal with Apple’s streaming service to create original content that will include a book club, documentaries and TV series.

One of our favourite Oprah Winfrey quotes: “The challenge of life, I have found, is to build a resume that doesn’t simply tell a story about what you want to be, but it’s a story about who you want to be.”

All over the world, women are making huge strides in a number of different industries. If you’re interested in developing the skills required to become a Female Future Leader, why not learn more about the Immerse Education Female Future Leaders programme, designed for ambitious females aged 16-18 from around the world.

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