Forbes’ recently released its ranking of the 100 most powerful women in the world, a list filled with heads of state, CEOs and entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and influential entertainers all ranked by dollars, media influence, and overall impact. Eleven black women made the rank of the 2015 list.
Eleven outstanding black women of class made it to the list of Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women 2015. These women have performed giant strides to accord them this kind of honour. They are heads of state, CEOs, philantropists, academicians, entertainers and business women, and they deserve our praise for affecting the world positively in their great way. Here are the outstanding women who made the list starting with the top performer:
10. Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama, wife of President Barak Obama, makes the list due to her influence in policy making both nation and worldwide. At the beginning of this year she travelled to Southeast Asia to support an initiative to improve the education of girls and the financial stability of young women. She’s also been integral in the Obama administration’s effort to end homelessness among veterans in the U.S. and fought measures that would allow some schools to opt out of the federal dietary standards for school lunches.
12. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah is no stranger to the most powerful ranking. Her cable network, OWN has proven successful despite the naysayers and she still makes millions each year from the spin-off stars she helped launch to fame including Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. Winfrey’s movie imprint, Harpo Films co-produced the well received Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma and she also played a small role as civil rights activist Annie Lee Cooper. She is still the sole African-American woman on the Forbes’ 400 Richest Americans list, and she puts her money to good use by donating hundreds of millions of dollars to educational causes.
21. Beyoncé Knowles
Beyoncé makes the cut as the highest ranked entertainer on the Powerful Women list. Her tour with husband Jay Z last summer grossed approximately $100 million for 19 shows throughout North America, and she herself has pulled in more than $500 million in earnings as a solo artist.
29. Ursula Burns
Burns helped Xerox, where she began her career in 1980 as a summer intern, generate $21.4 billion in revenue this past year as CEO, and has helped keep the company viable and profitable in an increasingly paperless world. She has told shareholders that she plans to continue to increase the company’s technology-driven and service-led portfolio.
34. Loretta Lynch
Lynch is the first African American woman in U.S. history to be sworn in as Attorney General. She has expanded President Obama’s proposed plan for police body cameras with a $20 million dollar program proposal of her own and has sworn to “vigorously prosecute all those who tilt the economic system in their favor,” including recently fining five major banks for rate rigging.
47. Ertharin Cousin
Cousin serves as the head of the UN World Food Programme, the world’s largest program for battling food insecurity and hunger. Cousin herself was raised in a low income neighborhood in Chicago and has stated that her goal is to eliminate hunger in her lifetime. The World Food Programme aids in this battle not just through handing out food during crises, but also by helping with food production and child malnourishment.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
48. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Okonjo-Iweala is the minister of finance for Nigeria and has helped the country’s economy grow an average of 6% annually over three years. She’s also helped develop reform programs to improve governmental transparency.She is the first woman to serve as the country’s finance minister and spent 21 years as a economist at the World Bank.
65. Rosalind Brewer
Brewer became the first woman and first African-American to lead a Walmart division when she took over as Sam’s Club CEO in 2012. She has introduced new measures to compete with other big-box stores such as a private health insurance exchange and access to payroll systems and legal services through Sam’s Club membership. She serves on the board of Lockheed Martin and is chair on the board of trustees for her alma mater Spelman College.
87. Folorunsho Alakija
Alakija is the richest self-made woman in Africa and one of only two female billionaires on the continent. Her first company was an upscale fashion label catering to Nigerian elites. This helped her develop a connection with the former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, who later gave her company a prospecting license for one of Nigeria’s most lucrative oil fields.
92. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey
Lavizzo-Mourey oversees the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest charitable foundation in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to health. Lavizzo-Mourey, who has an MD from Harvard and an MBA from Wharton, has a focus on improving access to quality healthcare and addressing socio-economic factors affecting health.
96. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
Johnson-Sirleaf, president of Liberia for nine years now, was in charge for the devastating Ebola outbreak that ravaged West Africa. Though she has overseen economic growth for the county, Liberia is still one of the world’s most impoverished nations and the need for modernization to infrastructure, education, and healthcare systems all impacted the growing crisis in the country. Her decision to use troops to quarantine heavily infected neighborhoods was widely criticized, but Liberia managed to quell the outbreak and achieve zero cases to become the first nation to wipe out the disease a year after recording its first case.