Most Powerful Women


Americans love lists. We are compelled to put ordinal rankings on everything from our favorite movies of all time to one hit wonders of the 1960s.

Business mags love lists. They helps sell magazines. Being stuffy at first, traditional business titles started with lists of the largest companies, the world’s richest people and the highest paid CEOs. Now it seems that every other issue has a list. As if by ranking things we are provided with information. I think we are just provided with someone else’s not necessarily well thought out opinions.

Take Forbes recent list of the World’s Most Powerful Women. Not the best known or the richest but the most powerful. Here is how Forbe’s defines powerful:

Our ranking system starts with a list of women who have crossed certain thresholds. Most of them run companies, governments or nonprofits, or are very close to the top. A handful have established power bases in other ways (an entertainment entrepreneur, a judge and an author have been on the list). The power ranking score is based on a composite of visibility (measured by press citations) and economic impact.

The latter, in turn, reflects three things: résumé (career achievements and titles, so a prime minister counts as more powerful than a senator); the size of the economic sphere over which a leader holds sway; and a multiplier that aims to make different financial yardsticks comparable. For example, a chief executive is assigned the company’s sales in the economic impact calculation, while a foundation executive is assigned the foundation’s assets. The assets get a higher multiplier than sales. “

Whatever the formula, some of their rankings are hard for me to accept. Lets think about a few. The top ones are hard to argue with:

#1, Angela Merkel, leader of one of the most powerful countries and top economies in he world. Got it. #2, Wu Yi Vice Chancellor of China. Only the number two post in the government but its China. Enough said. #4 Condi Rice, most powerful female govenment official of the most powerful country on the planet. Check.

Some rankings make less sense. Ruth Bader Ginsburg at #20 puts a Supreme Court Justice one behind the CEO of Sara Lee, a not so big and not so successful company. Even further back is Hillary Clinton at #25 trailing Queen Elizebeth II (#23) who has no direct impact on the policies of Great Britain. I assume that if Hillary becomes President that she may move up in the rankings.

Then there is the most ridiculous ranking of the entire list. Meredith Vieira, Host of the Today show at #55. Not that long ago she was just one of the girls on The View. Now she ranks just behind the President of the Philipines and just ahead the President of Ireland. These two women are the Rodney Dangerfields of the list–no respect.

The list is dominated by high ranking government officials and equally high ranking business women. Who was the last to make it? #100, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia.

Angelina Jolie did not make the list. Angela but not Angelina. I guess Forbes has more to learn about selling magazines.

About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

One Response to Most Powerful Women

  1. Frank says:

    LOL…I was going to comment on this earlier. How did Angelina not make the list? You’re right, they do need to learn a thing or two about selling mags.

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