Mayawati sneaks into Forbes’ list of 100 most powerful women


Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Dalit leader Kumari Mayawati has found a place among the Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World giving jitters to Indian National Congress President Sonia Gandhi. According to the Forbes list released on 28th Aug. 2008, Mayawati is ranked 59th just behind Queen Elizabeth of UK.

In the running to be prime minister, from her perch as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. In 1995, at 39, she was the youngest politician elected to the post and was also the first Dalit (India’s lowest, “untouchable” caste) to head a state government. Commands a large following and goes simply by Mayawati. In 2007 she shrewdly built an alliance with Brahmins, and the Bahujan Samaj Party, which she heads, has started to increase its national presence. Some say she could trail-blaze again as India’s first Dalit prime minister. — Kate Macmillan of the Forbes says in citation for Mayawati.

Sonia Gandhi has slipped to number 21 while Pepsi Co CEO,  Indra Nooyi is on number 3 on the list headed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Gandhi, the Italian-born leader of India’s most powerful political party, the Indian National Congress Party, has by now assumed the role of elder stateswoman. Although she remains firmly at the head of the country’s ruling party, a rising star, known by the single name Mayawati, is challenging Gandhi’s position as the country’s most powerful woman. Mayawati has aligned herself with the nationalist Hindu BJP party and joined its members in vociferously opposing Gandhi’s party’s historic agreement with the U.S. on nuclear cooperation. — Heidi Brown

However, Nooyi still heads the list of businesswomen. Forbes says: At No. 3, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo is the highest-ranked woman in business as she expands the food and beverage giant internationally to counter a decline in Americans’ preference for soda and chips

Another inclusion on the list is Kiran Mazumdar Shaw  Chairman and Managing Director of the Biocan three positions behind Queen of Jordan Rania Al-Abdallah. Kiran has just scaped in to be ranked 99.

According to Forbes media release: Our annual ranking of the most powerful women in the world measures “power” as a composite of public profile–calculated using press mentions–and financial heft. The economic component of the ranking considers job title and past career accomplishments, as well as the amount of money the woman controls.
A chief executive “controls” the revenue of her business, for instance, while a head of state gets the country’s gross domestic product. The raw numbers are modified to allow comparisons across financial realms.
For the third year running Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, is the world’s most powerful woman. U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (overall rank: 28) is the woman with the highest public profile, resulting from the intense media scrutiny of her failed presidential bid.

The list that comprises 54 businesswomen and 23 politicians, with the rest being media execs and personalities and non-profit leaders. A third are newcomers to the rankings; this reflects not only new top positions for women, such as Starcom MediaVest’s Laura Desmond (No. 55) and Enterprise’s Pamela Nicholson (No. 93), but also the increasingly global reach of this list, with more women from outside the U.S. rising to worldwide prominence.

Just under half the women ranked this year are based outside of the U.S. Top countries represented include the U.K. (five women), China (four), France, India and the Netherlands (three apiece). Morocco has its first ranked woman this year: Hynd Bouhia (No. 29), director-general of the Casablanca Stock Exchange.

Candidates for our list are globally recognized women at the top of their fields: chief executives and their highest-ranked lieutenants, elected officials, nonprofit leaders. They don’t have to be rich, but they do have to wield significant influence. This year, an architect, a war correspondent and several foundation executives all won spots on the list.

We measure power as a composite of public profile–calculated using press mentions–and financial heft. This year, for instance, the woman with the highest public profile is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, No. 28, who garnered intense media scrutiny for her failed U.S. presidential bid.

The economic component of the ranking considers job title and past career accomplishments, as well as the amount of money a woman controls. A chief executive gets the revenue of her business, for example, while a Nobel winner receives her prize money and a U.N. agency head receives her organization’s budget. We modify the raw dollar figures to allow comparisons among the different financial realms so that the corporate revenue that an executive controls, for instance, is on the same footing as a country’s gross domestic product, ascribed to prime ministers.



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About Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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