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10 Most Powerful And Influential Women In 21st Century

by Khushi Multani

powerful and influential women in 21st century

Women throughout our history have been mistreated and not given the opportunities that they deserved. Today, modern women are taking over the world and standing up for the rights they deserve.

The women of the 21st century are smart, driven, and determined to achieve their goals by perseverance and hard work.

Today we talk about women who are most influential and powerful in their own field and are on-par or doing better than their counterparts.

Angela Merkel

First Female Chancellor of Germany in 2005

Field: Politics and Policy

Recognitions:

#1 Powerful women 2020

#4 Powerful people 2018

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel leads the EU’s largest economy and has steered Germany through the financial crisis and back to forth. She stood up to Donald Trump by allowing more than a million Syrian refugees into Germany, which marked her steely reserve. In 2017 she also became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the European Union.

Positions held –

Minister for Women and Youth: 1991-1994

Minister for Environment: 1994-1998

General Secretary of CDU: 1998-2000

Leader of Opposition: 2002-2005

Chairperson of the CDU: 2000-2018.

Kamala Harris

Vice President-Elect, United States Of America

Field: Politics and Policy

Recognitions:

#3 Powerful women 2020.

100 most influential people of 2015.

20 of America’s most powerful women 2005

Kamala Harris was born in Oakland to an immigrant couple. On November 7, 2020, Kamala Harris became the first woman in American history to be elected for the vice presidency. In 2010, Kamala became the first woman to serve as California’s attorney general.

In 2016, she became the first woman Indian-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate.

Melinda Gates

Co-chair, Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation

Field: Philanthropy

Recognitions:

#5 Powerful Women 2020

Melinda maintains her position as a powerful woman who’s the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s co-chair, which was founded in the year 2000. It is the largest charitable foundation with a $40 Billion trust endowment.

She is involved in solving problems related to not only education and poverty but also sanitation and contraception. She is known to have devoted much of her work to women’s and girl’s rights.

She is helping everyone to lead healthy and productive lives. In the next chapter of Melinda, she is working towards closing the funding gaps for female founders through her investment company, Pivotal Ventures.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Founder and Executive Chairperson of Biocon

Field: Business & Philanthropy

Recognitions: 

#68 Powerful women 2020

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is India’s richest self-made woman. She is the founder and Chairperson of a biopharmaceutical firm – Biocon. Kiran, entrepreneur-philanthropist, is also a Padma-Shri and Padma-Bhushan award winner.

In 2020, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw became one of the only two Indian women to be featured in the wealthiest self-made female billionaires. Her net worth in December 2020 was approx. $4.7 billion.

Biocon was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Bengaluru. Biocon was in the news as it was approved for the phase 4 trial of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Mary Barra

CEO General Motors

Field: Business

Recognitions:

#6 Powerful women 2020

#53 Powerful people 2018

#1 Fortune’s most powerful women 2017

#5 Forbes World’s 100 most powerful women 2017

#1 Fortune’s most powerful women 2015

Mary Barra
Image credit – Mary Barra | Fortune

Mary Barra is the first woman to lead one of the big three automakers in the U.S. Barra has also invested billions in self-driving, electric cars, and a ride-share service called Maven. Earning $21.6 Million in 2019, Mary Barra has the highest compensation of any leader in the Detroit Big Three automaker.

General Motors was one of the two global companies in 2018 which had no gender pay gap. In spring 2020, she shifted General Motors’ production line to help Ventec life system make critically-needed ventilators.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Producer, Global Actor, and Philanthropist

Field: Business

Recognitions:

#37 Fortune India’s most powerful women 2020

#84 Forbes Powerful women 2018

Priyanka Chopra is considered to be the world’s most successful and influential celebrity.

Apart from being an actor, she is also an entrepreneur as she started her production company. In 2018, she started investing in tech companies and became an investor for the dating app Bumble and at Holberton school for software engineering.

She had her debut in Hollywood in 2017. Her current net worth is $50 million as of 2020. She supports UNICEF and is the Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Foundation. She also launched the Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education.

Ana Patricia Botin

Executive Chairman, Santander Group

Field: Finance

Recognitions:

#8 Powerful women 2020

Ana Patricia Botin
Image Credit – Angel Naval/MARINA PRESS/Shutterstock (10574099ad)

Ana Patricia took over her father’s company in 2014. She initially worked with JP Morgan for almost 8 years before returning to Spain to work at her own bank.

In the face of political unrest, when she was cooped, she championed fintech and shifted her focus to women-owned businesses, small businesses, and budding entrepreneurs. She also launched “Santander X” to support university entrepreneurship and help create the country’s first multi-sector blockchain-based platform.

She has proved to be an asset as she has strengthened the US and Latin American management teams and brought more international board members to the group.

Emily Portney

Chief Executive Officer, BNY Mellon

Field: Finance

Emily Portney

Emily Portney was a part of Barclays International as Chief Financial Officer and led the corporate and investment bank, the private bank, and the cards and payments business.

She started at JP Morgan in 1993. She was a part of various activities, including CFO of Equities and Prime Services. Emily has spent 22 years at JP Morgan as the global head of clearing and collateral management.

She serves on the Board of Directors for MarketAxess, for Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation(DTCC).

Roshni Nadar Malhotra

HCL Technologies

Field: Technology

Recognitions: 

#54 World’s 100 Most Powerful Women 2019

Roshni succeeded her father, Shiv Nadar’s businesses, India’s one of the biggest and leading IT firms. Before taking over the company, she served as the vice-president of the company for 2 years.

She has been a part of HCL Technologies since 2013 after she graduated. She is listed as the first woman to lead an Indian IT-based company. Her current net worth is Rs. 54,850 crores.

Sherly Sandberg

COO of Facebook

Field: Technology

Recognitions: 

#22 Powerful Women 2020

#5 Fortune’s 50 most powerful women

#4 Forbes 100 most powerful women

Sherly joined facebook in 2008. She is the author of the book “Lean In : Women, Work, And The Will To Lead.” After the success of her book, she founded the Lean In foundation for women empowerment.

In 2012, she became the first female board of directors to serve Facebook. Before this, Sherly worked as chief of staff for the US secretary of the treasury and later was employed by Google, serving as vice president of global online sales and operations.

It gives me immense pride to say that my generation’s women are so successful and willing to go the extra mile to fight for their equality and show determination.

Not only in India, but women around the world in 21st century are growing and proving themselves that there is way more to a woman’s life than just helping in the kitchen or taking care of the house and a baby.

More power to women!

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