The five most powerful women in the world and how they got there

Forbes has released its annual list of the world's most powerful women...

Every year 100 smart, tough and inspirational women grace the prestigious Forbes Most Powerful list. From CEOs to government officials, we take a look at 2016’s top five success stories… #GirlBoss


1. Angela Merkel

Who is she?
As the Chancellor of Germany she’s the leader of the country that drives the European economy. If she’s re-elected in September she’ll surpass Margaret Thatcher as Europe’s longest serving elected female head of government.

Background:
Angela studied physics and worked as a bartender at Leipzig University before moving on to work as a research scientist. She entered politics in 1989, involving herself in the growing democracy movement after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Random Fact:
After divorcing her first husband aged 30 she lived like a squatter in an illegal apartment in Berlin. At the time her father told her she hadn’t come very far in life.

2. Hillary Clinton

Who is she?
A US presidential candidate and Donald Trump’s biggest rival. Later this year she could be the first woman elected in to the White House.

Background:
Hillary graduated with a Law degree from Yale University, before marrying former US President, Bill Clinton in 1975. She’s the former New York senator and US Secretary of State.

Random Fact:
She’s a Grammy award-winning politician. Unfortunately she didn’t release any banging tunes back in the day, but in 1996 the audio version of her book, It Takes a Village, won the award for the Best Spoken Word Album.

3. Janet Yellen

Who is she?
The Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Basically she sets the course for the world economy, no biggie!

Background:

A graduate of both Yale and Brown, the Brooklyn native and former professor has become a leading figure in economics through her many roles at the Federal Reserve – the central banking system in the US.

Random Fact:

She has a stamp collection estimated to be worth between $15K and $50K, and is said to take a suitcase full of economics books with her on beach holidays. That’s what you call a grafter.

4. Melinda Gates

Who is she?
Co-chairman and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her husband, Bill Gates, created Microsoft and together they’ve donated over $28 billion to charity.

Background:

Born in Texas, Melinda went on to graduate with a degree in computer science and a Masters in business administration from Duke University. She took a job as marketing manager at Microsoft in the 80s and married Bill in 1994.

Random Fact:
Melinda and Bill have banned their children from using any Apple products. They were made to use (the now defunct) Zunes instead of iPods – proof that you can’t have it all.


5. Mary Barra

Who is she?
Chairman and CEO of the General Motors Company – an American vehicle corporation. She’s the first ever female CEO of a major global automaker.

Background:
Mary joined GM at just 19-years-old whilst studying for her electrical engineering degree at Kettering University. She moved her way up from HR to global product development to management, completing an MBA after GM picked up on her business management skills.

Random Fact:
Her advice to live by? ‘There’s no decision you should ever make that would embarrass you if it became public.’

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