Who runs the world? Women, 100 very powerful women

Take a look at the CEO of Pepsi, Senior Vice President of Google, President of Harvard University, and owner of Prada. What do they all have in common?

These successful individuals are women.

Recently, they became part of a selective group that was ranked and dubbed by Forbes as “The 100 Women Who Run the World.” Ranging from CEOs of top, coveted companies to altruistic philanthropists, Forbes selected the top 100 women from a preliminary group of over 200 candidates.

Ranked as the most powerful woman in the world, the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, kept her position as number one for the second consecutive year.

“She’s made German history,” said George Guo, associate professor of political science. Merkel, commonly known as the “Iron Lady” of Europe, is the first female Chancellor of Germany. A key player in the European economic crisis, she plays a vital role in the 17 European Union member states that incorporate the euro as their national currency. “If you compare Germany with other European states’ economy, Germany did very well. She’s always in the center of making crucial decisions,” added Guo.

In 32nd place is the mega superstar, Beyoncé Knowles. Recognized as one of the greatest vocal artists of all time, and having won 16 Grammy Awards, she has become a praised musician in the entertainment industry.

“I’m not surprised that she’s one of the most powerful women in the world,” said Early College student Obi Ejimofor. “She’s a really talented singer and I like the way she looks.”

At the Billboard Music Awards last year, Beyoncé performed  her hit song, “Girls (Who Run the World).” The introduction to her performance announced, “Men have been given the chance to rule the world, but ladies: our revolution has begun. Let’s build a nation. Women everywhere run the world.”

Apart from her musical success, she recently launched a campaign for the United Nations’ World Humanitarian Day and debuted the music video for her latest single, “I Was Here,” in New York’s U.N. General Assembly.

Tina Brown, current Editor-in-Chief for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, made the list at number 77. She is regarded as one of the highest-profile magazine editors in the world. According to the Greater Talent Network, she increased Vanity Fair’s circulation from 250,000 to 1.2 million and was the first female editor for The New Yorker. This year, Brown will be featured as the first speaker for the Bryan Series on October 23.

“Tina is one of 14 remarkable women in our Bryan Series lineups since 2005,” said Ty Buckner, associate vice president of communications and marketing. “Women are highly visible throughout the media industry. .… One thing these women share is a commitment to being bold and taking risks along the way,” said Buckner. “They are role models for women aspiring to be leaders in the media industry, which is changing day by day. Tina is one of many who inspire these future leaders.”

Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani, the chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority and daughter of the Emir of Qatar, came in at 100th. The youngest on Forbes’ list at 29 years, Al-Thani is already considered to be the “most powerful woman in the art world” by Art+Auction. She has been in charge of creating Qatar’s now world class art collection, which she hopes will promote Islamic art and cross-cultural interaction.

“Women’s role in the world has changed, and the art world is no exception,” said Maia Dery, instructor of art/experiential learning and fellow Duke alum with Al-Thani. “It is rare for a woman to have control over as much money as Al-Thani, in any culture. Her family connections afford her great privilege, and she appears to be working very hard to make something good out of that privilege.”

The Forbes list provides a glimpse into the achievements and ongoing work of these extraordinary women. This influential group continues to make a huge impact in their respective industries and cultures. Their work continually advances and empowers women in today’s society, and their accomplishments will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on our history.