The newly released 2010 Forbes list of the world’s most powerful women has ranked Michelle Obama at number 1, usurping the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and even beating omnipresent singer Lady Gaga into 7th place.
The annual list saw a number of media personalities breach the top 10, including two talk show hosts, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres.
Obama, described by Forbes as “a forceful advocate of school nutrition standards”, leads a new-look list from the magazine, whose 2009 list of powerful women was mostly dominated by politicians and chief executives of international companies.
“We’ve come up with a new ranking of the female power elite that reflects the New Order of now ,” Forbes explained in an article accompanying the list.
Obama takes the number 1 spot, having been ranked 40th last year, while Winfrey is 3rd (last year 41st), Lady Gaga is 7th (unplaced), Beyonce Knowles is considered the 9th most powerful woman on the planet (unplaced) and Degeneres 10th (unplaced).
Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives – and second in line for the US presidency after the vice-president, Joe Biden – is 11th on the list. Earlier this year, Pelosi was heralded as the most powerful woman in US history and the most powerful Speaker in a century.
But apparently this was not enough to make the Forbes top 10.
“When we set out to identify this year’s list, we decided it was time to look up and out into the broader culture,” Forbes said. “Our assessment is based less on traditional titles and roles and more on creative influence and entrepreneurship.”
In the “money” column alongside the “power women” Forbes mostly lists earnings that an individual or her company has made over the past year, however it does not calculate Obama’s wealth, instead stating simply “National Budget $3,520bn”.
Merkel is 4th on the list, while last year’s runner up, Sheila Bair – chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the government body that guarantees bank deposits in the US – falls to 15th.
Other political and business figures to make the top 10 include Irene Rosenfeld, the chief executive of Kraft Foods, who is 2nd, while the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is 5th and Indra Nooyi, chief executive of PepsiCo, is 6th.
Forbes came up with the rankings by dividing their candidates into four groups: politics, business, media and lifestyle, before ranking the women in each group, then comparing the groups against one another.
Potential 2012 presidential candidate and sometime wordsmith Sarah Palin, described by Forbes as a “political maverick and commentator”, is ranked 16th in the 2010 list, while Queen Elizabeth II places 41st – the only British woman to make the 100. guardian.co.uk