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Kamala Harris, Jacinda Ardern and Stacey Abrams make Forbes list of 2020's most powerful women

Forbes' most powerful women of 2020
Forbes releases its list of the most powerful women of 2020 00:34

Forbes announced its list of the world's 100 most powerful women of 2020 on Tuesday, featuring influential leaders from 30 countries in politics, entertainment, business and more. Women born across four generations are included in the ranking, with 10 heads of state, 38 CEOs and five entertainers among those making the cut.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed the No. 1 spot for the tenth year in a row, with European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde coming in second for the second consecutive year.

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made the list for the first time — debuting in the No. 3 slot. Forbes said her "rapid ascension in U.S. politics" has "catapulted" her onto the list.

Ursula von der Leyen, the first female president of the European Commission, and Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, round out the top five. Gates maintained her title as the most powerful woman in philanthropy, according to Forbes.  

In addition to Harris, several other notable American female politicians also made the cut. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi dropped to the seventh spot on the list, down from last year when she ranked third. Former Georgia state house minority leader and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams earned the 100th spot on the list. 

Abrams and her New Georgia Project helped register 800,000 new voters in her home state, mainly in communities of color. A record of almost 5 million Georgians voted in the 2020 presidential election, and President-elect Joe Biden won the state, becoming the first Democrat to do so since 1992.

Forbes noted that while the women on the list may be very different, "they are united in the ways they have been using their platforms to address the unique challenges of 2020." Notably, several of the leaders on the ranking were lauded for their effective responses to the coronavirus pandemic

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern nabbed the 32nd spot on the ranking. She recently won her second term in a landslide after leading a largely successful effort against the coronavirus. There are just 54 reported active cases of the disease in the country as of Tuesday morning, according to its ministry of health

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen clocked in at No. 37 on Forbes' list. Taiwan won praised from experts as "a great example of how to deal with the coronavirus."

The importance of women leaders in a divided world 22:36

The list welcomed 17 new faces this year. Forbes says they "illustrate that women are leading all aspects of a society transformed by a global pandemic."

Among the business leaders on the list are UPS CEO Carol Tomé, Clorox CEO Linda Rendle, and CVS Health executive vice president and incoming CEO Karen Lynch.

Some of the world's most beloved personalities and entertainers also made the cut, including Oprah Winfrey at No. 20, Beyoncé Knowles at No. 72 and Taylor Swift clocking in at No. 82. Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch, also made the cut at No. 46. 

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