German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff topped Forbes magazine's 2011 list of the world's 100 most powerful women, released today.
Many of the 100 women named on the list--eight heads of state, politicians, humanitarians, business and technology leaders, journalists, media tycoons, and non-profit chiefs--are familiar from past years' rankings: Merkel, Clinton, Rousseff, IMF chief and former French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi, Oprah, Lady Gaga and J.K. Rowling, to name a few.
But the 2011 list noted several new arrivals--Minnesota representative and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, NBC Today show host Ann Curry, and New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson among them. And several women fell off after appearing on past years' lists (Sorry, Madonna). So who came and who left? And what does it say about wider trends in the world of the past year?
Who fell off the list:
First Lady fatigue? French model, singer and first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, ranked No. 35 on last year's list, dropped off this year's list, perhaps signaling a larger malaise with the world's first spouses--and their elected partners--several years into their terms. American First Lady Michele Obama sank from No. 1 on last year's Forbes list to No. 8 this year. Also dropping off the 2011 list: Qatari First Lady Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, who was ranked No. 72 on last year's list, and Maria Shriver, who ranked No. 53 on last year's list but has now publicly split from the now retired California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Two other notable California politicians also fell off the list: former Republican Senate contender Carly Fiorina and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who ranked No. 51 and No. 47 respectively in last year's list, but lost their 2010 races.
Economic advisers to President Obama Sheila Bair, the former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, ranked No. 15 in last year's list but didn't make this year's. The same went for Elizabeth Warren--who ranked No. 36 on last year's list but didn't make this year's after being passed over by the White House to head the new consumer protection agency. Warren, who is rumored to be considering a 2012 run for senator from Massachusetts against Scott Brown, may be reappearing on the list again soon.
Supreme Court Justices Oddly, the three female justices on the Supreme Court--Sonia Sotomayor (No. 19 on Forbes' 2010 list), Elena Kagan (No. 25 in 2010), and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (No. 31 in 2010)--are entirely absent from the 2011 list. Verdict: editorial oversight?
Media Former CBS Evening News host Katie Couric, who ranked No. 22 on last year's power list, is not on the 2011 list, having given up her powerful podium. Nor is former NBC Today Show host Meredith Vieira, who ranked No. 40 on last year's list. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who ranked No. 50 on last year's list, also fell off the 2011 Forbes list.Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, No. 99 on last year's list, didn't make the cut this year. Neither did television cooking show darling Rachel Ray, who came in at No. 78 last year.
Hearst Magazines chief executive Cathleen Black, ranked No. 67 on last year's list, but didn't make this year's. Talk show host Chelsea Handler, No. 33 in 2010, is gone, too.
Pop stars, entertainment, fashion The pop star Madonna, who ranked No. 29 last year, is considerably less powerful this year, according to Forbes. So too is race car driver Danica Patrick, who ranked No. 93 on last year's list.
The fashion designers Tory Burch, Donna Karan and Vera Wang, who ranked Nos. 88, 91 and 96 on last year's list, all failed to make this year's list.
Victims of the Arab spring? The United Arab Emirates' minister of economics, Sheikha-Lubna-al-Qasimi, who ranked No. 70 on last year's list, is off the 2011 list. So too, as was previously noted, is the Qatari first lady, who ranked No. 72 in 2010. However, it's worth noting the debut on the 2011 Forbes list of a private sector CEO from the Arab world: Lubna S. Olayan, the chief executive of Saudi Arabia's Olayan Financing Company.
Victim of Fukushima? Anne Lauvergeon, the CEO of French nuclear powerhouse Areva, ranked No. 24 on Forbes' 2010 list. She is off the 2011 list, however, perhaps in part because of growing international public unease about the safety of nuclear power after Japan's devastating March tsunami and the subsequent months-long crisis at the Fukushima nuclear facility in northeastern Japan.
Who debuts on the Forbes' 2011 most powerful women's list?
Jill Abramson, the new executive editor of the New York Times, makes her debut on the 2011 Forbes list at No. 12. The new host of NBC's Today Show Ann Curry debuts at No. 66.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) makes her first appearance on the list at No. 22. (Sarah Palin, who ranked 16th on Forbes' 2010 list, fell to 34th on this year's list.)
Technology honchos: Susan Wojcicki, Google's senior vice president for advertising, is the new No. 16, and Twitter's vice president for international strategy, Katie Jacobs Stanton, is No. 56. Oracle's President, Safra Catz, comes in at No. 40.
Thailand's newly elected prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the first female prime minister of the Southeast Asian nation (and younger sister of its former ousted ruler, Thaksin Shinawatra), arrives on the list this year at No. 59.
World Bank managing director Sri Mulyani Indrawati, of Indonesia, is No. 65.
Margaret Hamburg, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, is No. 21.
Helene Gayle, the CEO of the humanitarian relief group CARE, makes her debut on the list at No. 36.
Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust comes in at No. 83.
Chan Laiwa, the billionaire 70 year old chairwoman of China's Fu Wah International Group, is No. 33.