German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped Forbes' annual global ranking of the Most Powerful Women for the seventh time in eight years.
The magazine describes Merkel, 58, as "the backbone of the 27-member European Union," adding she "carries the fate of the euro on her shoulders." The magazine notes her hard-line austerity prescription for easing the European debt crisis has been challenged by both hard-hit southern countries and the more affluent north, most particularly France. She is running for a third term in September.
The top 15
1. Angela Merkel, chancellor, Germany
2. Dilma Rouseff, president, Brazil
4. Michelle Obama, first lady, U.S.
5. Hillary Rodham Clinton, former secretary of State, U.S.
7. Christine Lagarde, managing director, International
Monetary Fund, U.S.
8. Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, U.S.
11. Park Geun-hye, president, South Korea
12. Virginia Rometty, CEO IBM, U.S.
13. Oprah Winfrey, media mogul, U.S.
14. Ursula Burns, CEO, Xerox, U.S.
15. Meg Whitman, CEO Hewlett-Packard, U.S.
-- Bloomberg News