To celebrate a momentous year of business, philanthropy and politics, Forbes has rounded up the most powerful women for its annual list of 100 most influential female figures.

Top 10 most powerful women

  1. Angela Merkel

  2. The Chancellor of Germany – the first female one at that – is not budging from the pinnacle position. For the ninth year running, the leader was praised for her crusades against anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe.

    Forbes powerful women 2019

  3. Christine Lagarde

  4. As the first woman to head the European Central Bank, the French politician and lawyer moved up one spot from 2018.

    Forbes powerful women 2019

  5. Nancy Pelosi

  6. The American politician is the first woman in US history to hold the position of Speaker of US House of Representatives, making her second-in-line for the presidency.

    Forbes powerful women 2019

  7. Ursula von der Leyen

  8. The longest-serving member of Angela Merkel’s cabinet was appointed the president of the European Commission in July 2019 and she is the first woman to serve in the role.

    Forbes powerful women 2019

  9. Mary Barra

  10. Having invested billions in electric vehicles, the General Motors CEO was ranked fifth most powerful woman in the world – down a position from 2018.

    Forbes powerful women 2019

  11. Melinda Gates

  12. The inspiring philanthropic leader has helped change lives and shape global challenges as the co-chair of the world’s largest private charitable foundation with a US$40 billion trust endowment.

    Forbes powerful women 2019

  13. Abigail Johnson

  14. Serving as CEO of Fidelity Investments since 2014, the US billionaire took over the top spot from her father at the company years ago.

    Forbes powerful women 2019

  15. Ana Patricia Botín

  16. Following the sudden death of her father in 2014, the Spanish banker has championed fintech, entrepreneurs and has backed women-owned businesses.

    Forbes powerful women 2019

  17. Ginni Rometty

  18. Up one spot from the previous year, the CEO has spent 36 years in the iconic tech company IBM where she first joined as a system engineer in 1981.

    Forbes powerful women 2019

  19. Marillyn Hewson

  20. Responsible for pulling US$53 billion in sales, the Lockheed Martin CEO has seen stock surge more than 300%.

    Forbes powerful women 2019

Other significant entrants:

Gail Boudreaux #11

The US businesswoman and athlete was named Anthem CEO in 2017 following her previous head role with UnitedHealthcare.

Forbes powerful women 2019

Emma Walmsley #17

The UK executive became the first and only woman to run a major pharmaceutical company when she was appointed GlaxoSmithKline CEO in 2017.

Forbes powerful women 2019

Gina Rinehart #36

Australia’s richest woman was ranked the 36th most powerful woman for 2019 for her incredible success in rebuilding her late father’s bankrupt estate.

Forbes powerful women 2019

Jacinda Ardern #38

The world’s youngest leader of the Labour party, who was also only the second woman in history to give birth while elected head of state, is pioneering the way for women.

Forbes powerful women 2019

Ivanka Trump #42

The daughter of US President Donald Trump is an advisor to the President where the White House claims she helped push for childcare tax credit, which was passed in 2017.

Forbes powerful women 2019

Reese Witherspoon #90

Finding global fame for her role in Legally Blonde, the actress went on to establish her own company Hello Sunshine to promote female-driven stories.

Forbes powerful women 2019

Greta Thunberg #100

One of the newcomers to the list, the young teenager was recognised for her fight against inaction on climate change and for galvanising millions globally.

Forbes powerful women 2019

Find out more about the 100 most powerful women