Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was ranked 12th on Forbes new list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.
For the list, Forbes looked at public visibility and economic impact, which measures the size of the economic sphere the leader controls. Since the Gates Foundation's economic sphere is about to expand by about $30 billion, so will Melinda Gates' influence. But besides the money, it seems that her ideas about how to approach philanthropy and global health also play a big role.
One interesting phenomenon Forbes noted is that women are gaining power around the world. This year German Chancellor Angela Merkel displaced U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as the world's most powerful woman. Only 53 of the women on the list were American.
In the past 12 months, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became president of Liberia, Michelle Bachelet president of Chile and Han Myung-sook South Korea's first female prime minister, the article noted. Meanwhile, the United States has yet to elect a woman president.
While number of high-ranking female officers in the biggest U.S. companies remained essentially flat over the last three years, the number of women running large companies throughout the world climbed to 48, up from 35 last year.