Bangladesh PM overtakes Suu Kyi in power women list

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed moved up six places to No. 30 from last year's 36th spot on Forbes Power Women list. She has promised aid to Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar, allotting about 800ha of land in her country for them.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed moved up six places to No. 30 from last year's 36th spot on Forbes Power Women list. She has promised aid to Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar, allotting about 800ha of land in her country for them.PHOTO: REUTERS

Sheikh Hasina climbs to No. 30; Myanmar leader falls to No. 33 over Rohingya crisis

NEW YORK • In what appeared to be a reversal of political fortunes stemming from the months-old Rohingya crisis, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi fell seven spots in a ranking of the world's most powerful women, while the Prime Minister of neighbouring Bangladesh overtook her to clinch the 30th position.

Ms Suu Kyi, who made a surprise visit to the conflict-battered Rakhine state in Myanmar yesterday, is ranked No. 33 on Forbes Power Women list this year. The state counsellor of Myanmar, who is known as "The Lady", was ranked No. 26 last year.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, 70, moved up six places from last year's 36th spot.

"In stark contrast to Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, the "lady of Dhaka" has promised aid to Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing Myanmar, allotting about 800ha of land in Bangladesh for the refugees," said Forbes in a write-up on the Bangladeshi leader.

Ms Suu Kyi, 72, "has left the world dumbfounded as she has appeared to stand quietly by as the Myanmar army engaged in what the UN has referred to as an ethnic cleansing of the 300,000 Rohingya Muslims who called Myanmar their home", said Forbes.

It added: "The current crisis suggests that either Suu Kyi was not the peace activist many mistook her for or that as Myanmar's state counsellor, she has very little power to wield."

Women in politics continue to dominate Forbes' latest list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women, occupying 21 spots out of a list drawn from seven "power bases" of billionaires, business, finance, media, politics, philanthropists or non-govermental organisations and technology.

Together, the 100 women directly influence more than three billion people, according to Ms Moira Forbes, executive vice-president of Forbes Media. This year's list was released on Wednesday.

As with every year, four metrics were used: money, media presence, spheres of influence, and impact, analysed both within the context of each woman's field and outside of it.

Topping the list for the seventh consecutive year and 12 times in total is 63-year-old German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who won a fourth term in office, albeit with the lowest share of the vote since 1949, in September.

Taking the No. 2 spot is newcomer British Prime Minister Theresa May, 61, who is struggling to contain Brexit divisions within her own party and wield authority after a snap election gamble in June backfired.

  • TOP WOMEN

  • 1. Angela Merkel , 63 Germany, Chancellor 

    2 . Theresa May, 61 Britain, Prime Minister 

    3. Melinda Gates, 53 US, co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    4. Sheryl Sandberg , 48  US , Facebook COO 

    5. Mary Barra , 55 US, General Motors CEO

Mrs Hillary Clinton's defeat at last November's United States presidential election pushed her down from the No. 2 place to the 65th spot. Mrs Clinton, 70, has been on Forbes' World's Most Powerful Women list every year since the list's inception in 2004.

Singapore's Temasek Holdings chief executive Ho Ching, too, has featured on the list every year since 2004. She is ranked No. 28 this year, up two places from last year.

Another Singaporean who made it to the list is GGV Capital managing partner Jenny Lee.

The Shanghai-based venture capital investor is ranked 94th this year, jumping six places from the 100th place last year. Six of GGV's portfolio companies were acquired last year, including human resources services provider China Talent Group, game publisher Gamespedia and consumer credit loan rating shop U51.

In Asia, women are flexing their entrepreneur muscles like never before. Making her debut to the list is China's ride-sharing start-up Didi Chuxing president Jean Liu, 39.

She is among the 23 women who hail from the Asia-Pacific region.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is the only Asian woman who made it to the top 20 list this year. She moved up two positions to the No. 15 spot.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2017, with the headline 'Bangladesh PM overtakes Suu Kyi in power women list'. Print Edition | Subscribe