Merkel tops 'Forbes' list of 100 most powerful women

German chancellor followed by Hillary Clinton and Brazilian President Rousseff; Israeli Shari Arison 64th.

Merkel reuters 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Merkel reuters 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK - Forbes magazine ranked German Chancellor Angela Merkel the most powerful woman in the world for the second year in a row in the annual list dominated by politicians, businesswomen and media figures.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton placed second, followed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, making the top three spots unchanged from last year.
The list named women involved in policy-making, entertainment, technology and nonprofit organizations, among other fields. They were ranked according to influence, the amount of money they control or earn, and media presence.
"These power women exert influence in very different ways and to very different ends, and all with very different impacts on the global community," said Moira Forbes, president and publisher of ForbesWoman.
The magazine noted Merkel's resolve in preserving the European Union and her influence over the euro zone's ongoing debt crisis.
Clinton was applauded for her handling of crises such as the release of a trove of diplomatic cables by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.
Forbes cited Rousseff for her leadership of the world's eighth-largest economy and approval ratings within her country.
The average age of the 100 power brokers from 28 countries was 55. They had a combined 90 million Twitter followers, Forbes said.
Also in the top five were Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and wife of Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates, and Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times.
Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress, followed at No. 6. US First Lady Michelle Obama, who had topped the list in 2010, was No. 7.
The list featured newcomers such as actress and performer Jennifer Lopez and billionaire philanthropist and widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs.
Republican US Representative of Minnesota and former White House hopeful Michele Bachmann was among 21 women who fell off the list this year.
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was No. 8. The former French cabinet minister has been on the list since it began in 2004.
"So many of these women are in policy or political roles, and their only growing so it's not surprising that someone like Merkel or Clinton would continue to be present on the list year to year," Forbes said.
Shari Arison, with an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion as of March 2012, ranked 64th on Forbes' list.
Arison, Israel's richest woman, inherited stakes in Carnival Cruises, Bank Hapoalim, and infrastructure and real estate giant Skikun & Binui from her late father Ted Arison. She also owns Israel's largest salt manufacturer and in 2006 founded global water efficiency company Miya.