Sat, Jul 30, 2005 - Page 16 News List

`Reinvigorating' Condoleezza Rice tops the `Forbes' list of wealthy and famous women


US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the world's most powerful woman, bea-ting out a host of presidents, celebrities and chief executives to top Forbes magazine's global ranking of feminine clout.

The annual list, unveiled Thursday, was Forbes' second ranking of the world's 100 most powerful women and left Rice two-for-two, having topped the 2004 version as US national security adviser.

Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor at Forbes, cited Rice for "reinvigorating the role of secretary of state with a form of diplomatic activism that we haven't seen in a while."

Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi (吳儀) was runner-up for the second year in a row, but other prominent Asian women fared less well.

Former Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri, number eight on the list last year, not only lost her top 10 position but fell out of the rankings altogether following her failed re-election bid.

A similar fate befell India's ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, who was deemed the third most powerful woman last year but could not make the top 100 a year later.

There was better news, for now at least, for beleagured Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, who jumped five places to take the number four ranking this year.

The highest ranking businesswoman on the list was Margaret Whitman, the chief executive of the wildly successful Internet auction site eBay, who was in fifth position, ahead of Xerox chief executive Anne Mulcahy.

US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, who last month topped the Forbes list of most powerful celebrities, broke into the all-women top 10 at number nine -- a huge leap from her 62nd ranking last year.

Rounding out the top 10 was Melinda Gates, wife of billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Other well known names on the list included US senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton (26), recently retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (36), Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling (40), US First Lady Laura Bush (46) and CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour (72).

The Forbes rankings are based on a composite of visibility -- measured by press citations -- and economic impact.

"We wanted to find women who had both global economic impact and cultural impact," MacDonald said, adding that one "disturbing trend" identified by Forbes researchers was the continued disparity in salaries between female and male


"When the Wall Street Journal coined the term `glass ceiling' in 1985, women only earned two-thirds of men's salaries," MacDonald said.

"Now it's about 75 percent," she added. "That's an improvement that's working at a glacial pace."

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