Gina Rinehart
Australian mining heiress and Chairman of Hancock Prospecting group Gina Rinehart awards medals to competitors at the Australian Synchronised Swimming Championships in Sydney, Australia, April 25, 2015. Reuters/Jason Reed/File Photo

Forbes has released its annual Most Powerful Women list for 2016, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is still number one. Mining mogul Gina Rinehart is the only Australian who made the list.

The women in the Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women 2016 list are “the smartest and toughest female business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, philanthropists and CEOs making their mark in the world today.” As the magazine commended them, “Their accomplishments are formidable on their own, and even more so given how hard it can be to establish inroads into industries and job titles traditionally dominated by men.”

Rinehart is at the second half of the top 100 list at #51. With a net worth of US$9.9 billion (AU$13.4 billion), the richest person in Australia is credited for taking her late father Lang Hancock’s bankrupted estate and rebuilding it into the powerful conglomerate it is today. Her fortune took a hit by the recent falling iron ore prices, though, and her family legal disputes have pulled her down from the list.

She dropped 14 places from 37th spot in the list last year.

Merkel, on the other hand, remains at first place. The German chancellor was praised for her leadership, for guiding her country through a recession and for using her power against ISIS.

“If there is a single leader able to defy existential economic and political challenges to the European Union, from edges and core, it has been German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” Forbes wrote, adding that Merkel’s boldest move is perhaps her decision to open her country’s borders to over 1 million immigrants from Syria and other Muslim countries in the last years.

“Merkel has decided to wield her power with the most curious of geopolitical strategies: sheer humanism.”

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is at second place, maintaining her spot from last year. The presumptive Democratic contender’s political career is defined by several firsts. Forbes noted that Clinton, the wife of former US President Bill Clinton, is the first and only First Lady to run for public office, the first woman elected as senator from New York, and the first woman to advance in the presidential race.

If she would indeed win the Democratic party’s endorsement over Senator Bernie Sanders, and if she would triumphed over Republic contender Donald Trump in the US presidential election in November, she would be the country’s first female president.

Janet Yellen, chair of the US Federal Reserve, and Melinda Gates, Bill Gates’ wife who works with him in their eponymous foundation, are at 4th and 5th places respectively.

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in Britain, is at 29th place. She was at 41st last year. Current US First Lady Michelle Obama is at 13th place, while TV personality and mogul Oprah Winfrey is at 21st.

The top 10 of the World’s Most Powerful Women in 2016:

  1. Angela Merkel
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. Janet Yellen
  4. Melinda Gates
  5. Mary Barra
  6. Christine Lagarde
  7. Sheryl Sandberg
  8. Susan Wojcicki
  9. Meg Whitman
  10. Ana Patricia Botin