Forbes released its annual list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. It is more diverse than usual, featuring an array of women of color from the Americas through the Middle East. The list also boasts 11 women of the diaspora from business, pop culture and politics.
One of the numerous prides of Nigeria is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the current minister of finance. Under her leadership, Nigeria has established Africa’s third largest economy with a 6.5 percent increase in Gross Domestic Product from 2011 to 2012. She ranks No. 83 on the list.
Dr. Helene Gayle, 57, is the president and CEO of CARE, one of the world’s most profitable non-profit organizations. The John Hopkins alum has used her position to effect positive change, including giving emergency care to 750,000 people in West Africa’s Sahel region during the 2012 food crisis. She is ranked No. 68 on the list.
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is undoubtedly an icon. The Liberian president is Africa’s first female head of state and is also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She ranks No. 87 on the list.
She’s married to one of the most powerful men in the world, but First Lady Michelle Obama is a force without Barack. Her favourable rating is 67 percent, more than 20 percent higher than her husband and Michelle Obama is using it to her advantage. The First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign along with her impeccable fashion sense has landed her on every show from Katie Couric to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She is the highest ranked black woman on the list, coming in at No. 4.
It is only May and Beyonce Knowles-Carter has already generated $40 million. Ambassadorship deals with Pepsi and H&M as well as her touring schedule will keep her pockets lined for decades to come. The Queen B ranks No. 17 on the list.
Ertharin Cousin is the executive director of the United Nation’s World Food Programme. She has led the feeding of 97 million people around the world since 2012, especially in war-torn areas of Africa. The University of Georgia alum ranks No. 49 on the list.
Malawi’s first female president, Joyce Banda, has tackled her country’s financial issues while addressing social woes as well. She decriminalized homosexuality and launched initiatives to fight HIV/AIDS. She ranks No. 47 on the list.
Rosalind Brewer oversees Sam’s Club as both president and CEO. She’s used her position to expand Wi-Fi in the United States, Brazil and China to encourage cell phone shopping. Brewer is the first woman and African-American to be CEO of a Walmart subsidiary. She ranks No. 44 on the list.
The Queen of Daytime Talk, Oprah Winfrey, is a billionaire with her own network. She’s still America’s sole black woman billionaire and will apparently retain that title in 2013. Winfrey ranks No. 13 on the list.
Ursula Burns, 54, is the chairman and CEO of Xerox. She began her career at the company as an intern in 1980 and has remained dedicated to its progress. Under her leadership, Xerox generated more than $20 billion in 2012. She ranks No. 14 on the list.