Displacing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who goes down from No.3 to No.7, Kamala Harris ranks below Germany’s Angela Merkel in the top spot followed by European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde at No.2.
Forbes said Kamala’s “rapid ascension in US politics” has “catapulted” her onto the list and her smackdown of Mike Pence when he repeatedly interrupted her during their debate (“Mr vice-president, I’m speaking…) not only “launched a thousand memes (and even a handful of T-shirts), but it also became a rallying cry for women across America.”
“One month after the debate, Senator Harris became the first woman, first Black American and first Asian American to be elected vice president — an unprecedented trifecta of firsts,” Forbes noted.
Ursula von der Leyen, the first female president of the European Commission, and Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, round out the top five. Three Indian women feature in the list Nirmala Sitharaman at No. 41, Roshni Nadar Malhotra at No. 55 and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw at No. 68. Others on the list include Googe/YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki at No.13, Oprah Winfrey (No.20), New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern (No.32) and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina (No.39).
“The women on the 17th annual power list hail from 30 countries and were born across four generations. There are 10 heads of state, 38 CEOs and five entertainers among them. But where they differ in age, nationality and job description, they are united in the ways they have been using their platforms to address the unique challenges of 2020,” Forbes said.
Forbes’ recognition of Kamala Harris comes amid acknowledged by President-elect Joe Biden that every major decision and cabinet appointment he is making involves consulting his deputy, who is widely seen as a successor if he does not finish his term or decides not to seek a second term.