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Hillary Clinton, Merkel, Lady Gaga: Who's More Powerful?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
John MacDougall | AFP | Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel tops Forbes’ list of the world's 100 most powerful women for the second-consecutive year, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is No. 2.

In a world where politics and economics have become increasingly intertwined, it may come as no surprise that seven of the top 10 slots on Forbes’ ninth-annual list are occupied by government officials.

Still, the roster of marquee names released Wednesday runs across a range of industries including business, media, non-profits and finance. According to Forbes, the 25 chief executives on the list oversee companies with nearly $1 trillion in revenues.

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, leader of Latin America’s largest economy, comes in at No. 3. Rounding out the top five are philanthropist Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times .

Merkel, charged with the Sisyphean task of preventing Europe from fracturing under the weight of a crushing debt crisis, has become a household name since Greece’s economic woes burst into the public eye more than two years ago. A scientist by training, the 58 year-old chancellor has been both credited and derided for bailing out several of the euro zone’s most distressed economies.

Clinton, who is no stranger to lists of the most powerful people, has broken travel records as the top diplomat of the world’s largest economy. The former first lady and U.S. senator is also a frequent flier on Forbes’ ranking of most powerful women.

The rest of the top 10: Sonia Gandhi, president of India's National Congress Party, 6; first lady Michelle Obama, 7; International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, 8; Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, 9; and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, 10. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey was No. 11. Pop superstar Lady Gaga ranked 14th.

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