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Three Latam presidents among Forbes list of 25 most powerful women

Thursday, May 29th 2014 - 00:35 UTC
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Dilma, president of the world's seventh largest economy Dilma, president of the world's seventh largest economy
Cristina, reigning over a country with the highest rate of inflation Cristina, reigning over a country with the highest rate of inflation
CFK unabashedly unveiling a new currency note (50 pesos) featuring the map of the Falkland Islands in Argentina's colors CFK unabashedly unveiling a new currency note (50 pesos) featuring the map of the Falkland Islands in Argentina's colors
Chile's Bachelet, at the helm of the world's most economically stratified nations Chile's Bachelet, at the helm of the world's most economically stratified nations

Brazil, Argentina and Chile presidents figure among the list of the 25 most powerful women in the world according to the latest release from Forbes. Dilma Rousseff ranks in fourth place, Cristina Fernandez 19 and Michele Bachelet, 25. Only nine heads of state figure in the 100 names list.

 Forbes describes Rousseff as one of the world's most powerful heads of state, and more than halfway through her term as president of Brazil, the world's seventh-largest national economy with a GDP of nearly 2.4 trillion dollars.

Brazil is hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016. Rousseff criticized the U.S. for spying during her opening speech at the UN General Assembly this fall and cancelled a state visit over reports that the National Security Agency was intercepting her emails, adds the brief description.

Regarding Cristina Fernandez “she is reigning over a country with the world's highest inflation rates and is still trying to make amends with global creditors after the 95 billion dollars default on its foreign debt in 2002. And it's working: this year marks the first time Argentina has received loans from international creditors since then. The offers, including talk of 1 billion from Goldman Sachs, follows a 500 million settlement with five foreign companies”.

At the same time, ”she's playing pugnacious with the U.K., unabashedly unveiling a new currency note (50 pesos) featuring the map of the Falkland Islands in Argentina's colors, white and blue. Cristina Fernandez legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, and in April announced she'll be godmother to a lesbian couple's child”.

Chilean president Michele Bachelet on her second tour in La Palacio de la Moneda, took office in March with 62% of the vote. Bachelet ended her first presidency in 2010 with a soaring 84% approval rating and later became the founding executive director of UN Women. At the helm of the world's most economically stratified nations, the one-time Socialist who was jailed, tortured and exiled, vows to enact 50 reforms in her first 100 days, including a major education overhaul and constitutional reforms.

Also one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, “Bachelet's first term was rocked by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake, after which she was accused of slow disaster relief. A month into her presidency, an 8.2 earthquake ravaged Chile, giving her an opportunity to redeem herself. Bachelet is a pediatrician and a former minister of health and national defense”.

The list also includes Petrobras CEO Maria Das Gracas Silva Foster in position 16. ”She knows from hard work: it's how she escaped a childhood in a favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro to become a chemical engineer and later the first female CEO of Petrobras, Brazil's oil and gas behemoth. After 30 years at the company, she has the experience and connections (including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff) to make running a company with assets exceeding 100 billion dollars work“, points out Forbes.

Petrobras posted 141 billion in sales and it continues to anchor Brazil's economy as it invests in vast underwater oil field exploration off the nation's coast. Efficiency problems and Brazil's fuel-price controls have created a recent dip in Petrobras' performance, and a corruption inquiry that some see as a political witch-hunt has also dulled its luster. But Foster didn't get the nickname ”Caveirao” (the armored police trucks used to quell violence in Brazil's slums) for nothing”.

This year's list has Germany's Angela Merkel again in first place but her runner up is Janet Yellen, the new head of the US Federal Reserve and the first woman to occupy such a post. The list also includes other powerful women in business and technology such as the CEOs from Yahoo, Facebook, IBM and Youtube, and Melinda Gates (3), wife of Microsoft Bill Gates.

IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde is ranked 5; former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 6; the CEO from General Motors, Mary Barra (7) and Michelle Obama, the First Lady in position 8.

Among ladies involved in entertainment and media business Oprah Winfrey ranks 14 in the list three places ahead of Beyoncé Knowles.

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