Women are a force to be reckoned with. The world may discriminate against us, put countless obstacles in our way, and expect us to live up to impossible standards, yet we not only survive, we thrive. All over the world women are breaking barriers and overcoming adversity to become leaders on the global stage.
Women have proven their ability to attain and wield power just as successfully as their male counterparts. While some women’s power has given them celebrity status, others are wielding theirs without all the hype. Their names may not come up too often around the dinner table, but their power is no less real.
Here are four women of unbelievable power and influence that you may never have heard of.
Christine is the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She was elected on June 28th, 2011 for a five year term becoming the first woman to head the IMF. The executive board considered both candidates as well qualified but chose Christine by consensus.
By heading the IMF, Christine provides financial oversight and guidance for its 189 member countries. The IMF manages emerging market risks. Since holding the position Christine has helped to navigate the eurozone debt crisis as well as the threat of a U.S. trade war with China.
In 2018, on the 10 year anniversary of the 2008 bank collapse, Christine blamed “groupthink”. Christine urges gender reform in this male dominated industry.
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers
With a fortune of $49.3 billion Françoise is the wealthiest woman in the world and the 15th wealthiest person. She is the only daughter and heiress of Liliane Bettencourt, the principal shareholder of L’Oreal. Upon her death in September 2017, her mother’s net worth was about $39.5 billion.
L’Oreal is a French personal care company. Françoise holds a 33.14% stake in the company and serves as chairwoman. L’Oreal is the world’s largest cosmetics company.
Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany in 2005 and is currently serving her fourth term. After steering Germany out of financial crisis and back to growth, Angela has been leading the region’s largest economy and is described as the de facto leader of the European Union. She is currently the senior G7 leader.
Forbes named Angela #1 on The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list in 2018. She has maintained this position for a record fourteen times. Twice she has been named the world’s second most powerful person following Vladimir Putin. It is the highest ranking ever achieved by a woman.
In 2015 Angela was named as Time magazine's Person of the Year. The cover declared her to be the “Chancellor of the Free World”.
Mary is the CEO of the automotive giant General Motors. She has held the position since January 15, 2014. She is the first female CEO of a major global car manufacturer. General Motors is ranked #1 on the 2018 Global Report on Gender Equality and was one of only two global businesses that has no gender pay gap.
In 2017 Mary earned $22 million. This was the highest compensation of any leader of the Detroit Big Three automakers consisting of General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Fiat Chrysler. She has made huge investments in electric cars, self driving cars, and a ride share service called Maven.
Mary was one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2014 and was featured on the cover. She was first on Fortune’s list of “Most Powerful Women” in 2015. She remained in the top spot in 2017.
What powerful women do you admire?