Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” List Makes No Sense To Us

Forbes’ annual “Powerful Women” issue hits newsstands tomorrow, but their 2009 list of the 100 most powerful women in the world has left us scratching our heads. The magazine insists the list is based on power, not popularity. They go by press mentions and the size of the country, business or organization the woman runs. But that doesn’t explain why German Chancellor Angela Merkel is at number one for the fourth year in a row. I’ll admit, she has been in the news a lot lately. But only because she’s up for re-election and campaign posters showing her in a low-cut top have generated mucho controversy. After the jump, see the other unlikely gals in the top ten. 2. Sheila Bair, chairman of America’s Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
3. Indra Nooyi, chief exec at PepsiCo
4. Cynthia Carroll, chief exec of Anglo American, one of the world’s largest mining and natural resource conglomerates
5. Ho Ching, leader of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Tamasek
6. Irene Rosenfeld, chief exec of Kraft Foods, producer of too-orange mac n’ cheese
7. Ellen Kullman, chief exec of DuPont, develops materials and products, many of which aim to be more environmentally friendly
8. Angela Braly chief exec of WellPoint, a giant health insurance company
9. Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive, Areva, an energy company with a focus on nuclear power
10. Lynn Elsenhans, chief executive, Sunoco, unethical gas giant [Forbes]

With the exception of the first two, all the women on this list are chief executives. While I am sure they have a lot of money and influence within their companies, I don’t think these chicks have as much power as many female politicians and women in other positions of power. Being the head of a company is impressive and I’m sure CEOs make important decisions every day. But do their choices matter as much as those of, say, Hillary Clinton? I think not.

Speaking of Hills, she’s on the list in slot #36, which is totes strange since Nancy Pelosi is #35. And why the eff is Michelle Obama way down at #40 when Xerox’s CEO Ursula Burns was flying high at #14?! Johanna Sigurdardottir, Iceland’s new Prime Minister who could be instrumental in rebuilding the country, didn’t make the list until #74. And in case things weren’t weird enough, all these lady politicians got beat out by Avon’s chief executive, Andrea Jung. Makeup is cool, Forbes, but not that cool. Oh, and really—Oprah is #41? Sorry, but I think she’d beat the CEO of Pepsi any day.

Who would be on your top ten list?