Forbes ranked Merkel, Germany's first female chancellor, at the top of its list for the second consecutive year, while China's vice premier, Wu Yi, came in second, the magazine reported Friday.
Third on the list was Ho Ching, wife of the Singaporean prime minister and chief executive of state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings, followed by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and PepsiCo chief executive and Chairwoman Indra K. Nooyi at fourth and fifth, respectively.
Rounding out the top 10 were Sonia Gandhi, president of India's National Congress Party; Cynthia Carroll, chief executive of British mining company Anglo American; Patricia Woertz, co-chairman of ethanol producer Archer Daniels Midland; Irene Rosenfeld, chief executive and chairman of Kraft Foods; and Patricia Russo, chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent.
However, the magazine said women are vastly underrepresented in the 500 largest U.S. corporations. Catalyst, a firm that tracks the progress of women in the corporate workplace, said women account for 15.6 percent of 10,145 corporate officer positions at the country's top companies.
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