The most powerful women in global development

    From left to right: Samantha Power, Helene Gayle, Melinda Gates, Ertharin Cousin made it to Forbes’ most powerful women list. Photo by: Angela Radulescu / Remy Steinegger for World Economic Forum / Russell Watkins for DfID / J.M Ferré for UNHCR /

    A newly released ranking of the world’s most powerful women not only includes politicians, celebrities and CEOs. Global development leaders, human rights activists and philanthropists also earned a coveted spot on Forbes’ annual list.

    Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, again tops the list, which also includes Hillary Clinton (6), the former U.S. secretary of state, and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (8). The list also includes:

         •   Melinda Gates (3), philanthropist and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

         •   Christine Lagarde (5), managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

         •   Helen Clark (23), administrator of the United Nations Development Program.

         •   Margaret Chan (30), director-general of the World Health Organization.

         •   Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (44), Nigeria’s finance minister and coordinating minister for the  
             economy, a former managing director of the World Bank who now co-chairs the Global
             Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

         •   Ertharin Cousin (45), executive director of the U.N. World Food Program.

         •   Samantha Power (63), U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

         •   Helene Gayle, CEO of Care USA, a nongovernmental organization focused on poverty
             alleviation.

    Do you agree with the ranking? Who do you think should’ve made the list? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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    About the author

    • Lean Alfred Santos

      Lean Alfred Santos is a former Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. He previously covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics.