Women have a huge impact on the business world.

All of these women represent the driving thesis behind the compilation of the list:

It’s not just enough to have money or a position of power.

A person must be doing something with their fortune, voice, or public platform.


We take a look at some of the most powerful women in business and politics around the world.

MacKenzie Scott

Mackenzie is a philanthropist, author, and ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

She was married to Bezos for 25 years.

They divorced in mid-2019 and she received 25 percent of his Amazon stake.

Then in May 2019, shortly after she announced the terms of the divorce on Twitter, she signed the Giving Pledge.

Here she promised to give away at least half of her wealth over the course of her lifetime.

In 2020 she announced just over $5.8 billion in gifts to 500 nonprofits.

Then in June 2021, she gave another $2.74 billion to 286 groups.

MacKenzie employs a “no strings attached” style of giving.

This is where the nonprofits to which she donates have full control over how to best spend the new funds.

She has published two novels and was a student of author Toni Morrison at Princeton and worked as her research assistant.

She has a whopping net worth of $48.9 billion.

Kamala Harris

On January 20, 2021, Kamala became the first woman, the first black person, and the first South Asian-American to become U.S. vice president.

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

Furthermore, in 2010, she became the first African-American and first woman to serve as California’s attorney general.

She is a California native; she was born in Oakland to immigrant parents.

Her mom was from India and her dad was from Jamaica.

As a Howard University alumna, she is the first graduate of a historically Black college or university to hold the vice presidency.

Christine Lagarde

Christine became the first woman to head the European Central Bank on November 1, 2019.

As head of European monetary policy, she faces a critical test.

It is ensuring the coronavirus pandemic does not cause more havoc on the Eurozone.

From 2011 until mid-2019, Christine ran the International Monetary Fund.

It works to ensure the global monetary system remained stable.

She was the first woman to ever hold that position.

Analyzing the 2008 financial crisis, she has pointed to “groupthink” in the male-dominated industry and called for gender reform.

Mary Barra

Mary is the CEO of General Motors and has been since 2014.

She is the first woman to lead one of the big three automakers in the U.S.

Mary invested billions in electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and a ride-share service called Maven.

In spring 2020, she moved General Motors’ production lines to help Ventec Life Systems make critically-needed ventilators.

The company has continued to score highly in gender equity reports.

In 2018, it was one of only two global businesses that have no gender pay gap.

Melinda French Gates

Melinda French Gates is one of the most powerful women in philanthropy.

She is co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In early May 2021, Bill and Melinda Gates announced they were getting divorced but will still remain co-chairs of the foundation.

Melinda also became a billionaire on her own after Bill Gates transferred her $2.4 billion worth of stock in early May 2021.

The foundation’s mission is to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.

Therefore, she has devoted much of her work to women’s and girls’ rights.

In her next chapter, her mission is to close the funding gap for female founders.

She aims to do this through her investment and incubation company, Pivotal Ventures.

Melinda’s net worth is $6.7 billion.

Abigail Johnson

Abigail’s net worth currently stands at $22.3 billion.

She has served as CEO of Fidelity Investments since 2014.

This was when she took over for her father and has been chairman since 2016.

Her grandfather, Edward Johnson II, was the founder of the Boston-based mutual fund giant in 1946.

She owns an estimated 24.5 percent stake in the firm, which has around $4.2 trillion in managed assets.

Abigail has embraced cryptocurrencies and, in 2018, Fidelity launched a platform which allows institutional investors to trade bitcoin and ether.

She worked summers at Fidelity through college and joined full-time as an analyst in 1988 after receiving a Harvard M.B.A.

Ana Patricia Botín

Ana is Executive Chairman of Santander.

She became chair of the company in 2014 after the very sudden death of her father, Emilio.

She pulled off a huge success in 2017 when Banco Santander acquired failing Banco Popular (BP) for 1 euro to become Spain’s largest bank.

In the face of political unrest, she has protected fintech.

She solely focused on entrepreneurs, backing small enterprise and women-owned businesses.

She launched Santander X to support university entrepreneurship.

Not only that, but she also helped create the country’s first multi-sector blockchain-based platform.

Abigail believes crypto is the “new big thing” in markets, and that she is interested to see how central banks regulate it.

Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen was appointed president of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, in July 2019.

She is the first woman to serve in the role, which is responsible for legislation that affects the lives of over 700 million Europeans.

From 2005 until 2019, Ursula served in Angela Merkel’s cabinet, which was the longest tenure of any cabinet member.

For the last six years of her time in the cabinet, she was Germany’s defense minister.

In September 2020 she spoke out against anti-LGBTQ policies in Poland.

Tsai Ing-wen

Tsai became the first female leader of Taiwan (and the first unmarried president) when elected in 2016.

Since taking office, she has broken protocol by making moves to the U.S, creating created tensions with mainland China.

Tsai won reelection in 2020 with more than 57 percent of the popular vote. Her victory was seen as disapproval of Beijing’s efforts to control the island.

Tsai’s leadership through Covid is seen as a global model.

This is because, in 2020, Taiwan instituted a track and trace program to prevent mass contagion.

She has vowed to make Taiwan an indispensable member of the world.

She aims to do this by stimulating the economy with initiatives in biotech, defense, and green energy.

Julie Sweet

Last but not least we have Julie Sweet who is the Chair & CEO of Accenture.

She became the CEO in September 2019.

Before becoming CEO, Julie served as Accenture’s general counsel and its head of North America.

That is the company’s largest market.

She also serves on the Business Roundtable.

This is the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council and Catalyst’s board of directors.

Diversity is a priority for Julie.

She told Forbes “A culture of equality helps everyone. It is not a zero-sum game.”

Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors

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