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The 7 Most Powerful Women In The UK (According To Forbes)

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Forbes published their list of the most powerful and influential women in the world for 2016 yesterday, and it turned up some unexpected results. The list, which is published annually, cites 100 women who hold positions of authority and cultural and financial capital. So who are these women exactly? What traits do they share?

Forbes describes them
as “the smartest and toughest female business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, philanthropists and CEOs making their mark in the world today. They’re women who are building billion-dollar brands, calling the shots in the financial markets, and crisscrossing the globe to broker international agreements and provide aid.”

So, no dead weight here. This year’s list has thrown up a few surprises, however. Firstly, China has a record number of shortlisted women of all 29 countries featured, coming second to the US for the highest held number of entries, thanks to individuals like Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation.

Secondly, Forbes cut the “celebrity category” to make room for the growing number of women “behind the presidential desk”. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, came in second on the list behind German Chancellor Angela Merkel who nabs the top spot – for the sixth time running.

In third place was American economist, 69-year-old Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve. The youngest woman to make the list is 41-year-old Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, with Queen Elizabeth II holding the respectable title of the oldest, at 90 years old. American women take up 51 of the spots, with entrepreneurs like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and AmericanVogue’s Anna Wintour and Oprah receiving mentions.

But, besides dear Liz, which British women made the list, and why? This year the British contingent was made up of seven women (that's double the amount of last year’s entries). Here's a run down of who they were:

The Queen – no. 25

Forbes selected The Queen because of her long reign, the longest in ‘1,200 years of British history’.

Nicola Sturgeon – no. 50
The head of the SNP was a new entry this year. Sturgeon has been a crucial voice within the Brexit campaign and her ongoing fight for Scottish independence has made her a pivotal political character in 2016. Notably, she is filed in the Scottish bracket and not the United Kingdom folder by Forbes.

Nemat Shafik, who is known as Minouche, Bank of England Deputy Governor – no. 59
Aged 54 and with five children, Forbes called Nemat “the most powerful woman in London". At 36, she was the World Bank's youngest ever Vice President and in August 2014 she became the inaugural Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.

Donna Langley, Chair, Universal Pictures, Comcast – no. 67
Aged just 48, Forbes selected Donna because of her position as "the sole chair of one of the six major motion picture studios in the U.S." Last year, thanks to movies like Jurassic World, the studio reported its highest grossing year on record.
Katharine Viner, Guardian editor-in-chief – no. 68
Katherine's position presides over one of the UK's most influential news titles, making her an obvious candidate for the list. The 44-year-old's promotion to Editor-In-Chief in 2015 makes her the first female to hold the position in the history of the Guardian.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-In-Chief of the Economist – no. 78
Another Editor-In-Chief to smash records as the first woman of to hold that title in the Economist's history. The political title boasts 1.6 million readers.

Eliza Manningham-Buller, C
hair of the Wellcome Trust – no. 88
This is Eliza's first appearance on the list, but she comes well-endorsed. The philanthropist presides over a $26.7 billion investment portfolio with the target to spend $7.3 billion over the next five years on biomedical research that otherwise might be neglected due to lack of funds. Oh, and she used to be director general of M15.
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