10 Most Powerful Women in the United States

10 Most Powerful Women in the United States

10 Most Powerful Women in the United States

Many women have achieved so much progress and innovation throughout history and even to this day. With their greatness and their actions that change the world, they need to be recognized for all the hard work, sacrifice, and determination to pursue the path to success. Here are the 10 most powerful women in the United States:

1. Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris has made waves in American history as she is currently the vice president of the USA and is the first woman and first mixed race American to be elected for the vice-presidency. Born in Oakland, California to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, Harris may not have the typical family in America or being a typical American woman but she knew she was born to stand out. She graduated in Howard University majoring in political science and economics in 1981 and then got a Juris Doctor Law Degree in University of California in 1989.

She then served various positions in the government such as Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on the Budget before becoming a Senator representing California, the first Indian-American to be elected in the United States Senate. She also served as California’s attorney general.

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Having gone through milestones of achievements in her political career and being featured on Forbes and Time magazine as one of the most influential women today, Harris has helped paved the way for women, especially the women of color, to pursue their dream career and to make a difference no matter how daunting and difficult it can be.

2. Oprah Winfrey

Probably everyone on the planet knows who Oprah Winfrey is. On her widely popular television talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired from 1986 to 2011, she became the first black female national daily talk show host.

Born in Mississippi, she lived in a rural community with her family. She unfortunately was a victim of abuse from her relatives and friends at an early age. Her family then moved to Tennessee, and entered Tennessee State University and afterwards worked in radio and television broadcasting. She then moved to Maryland and got her first major gig; hosting a hit TV chat show and then moved to Chicago for the opportunity to host her own morning talk show.

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In 1986, she launched the Oprah Winfrey Show. With her open and warm way of talking to her interviewees, she caught the eyes and hearts of American television viewers and almost instantly her ratings soared. One of her TV show’s famous segments, “Oprah’s Book Club”, was a blessing to unknown book authors as the exposure catapulted them into the best seller lists.   Winfrey also launched her own television network, The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in 2011. Due to her successful career as a television personality, she is the first black billionaire in 2003. She is listed in Forbes and Life magazines as the most influential woman of her generation.

3. Nancy Pelosi

One of the popular female politicians in the United States is the House of Representatives Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Ranked #7 as powerful women in 2020, Pelosi has a lot of strings of achievements under her belly.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Pelosi has set her life to follow a career in politics. She graduated from Trinity Washington University in 1966 majoring in Political Science. In the 1970s-1980s, she led the Democratic Congressional Party in California. She then moved on to represent California's 5th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives in the late 1980s to early 1990s, and then represent California's 8th Congressional District from 1993-2013. In 2002, she was elected as House minority leader by Democrats. In 2006, she became the speaker of the House. She is the first female speaker of the House and the first woman to be as high in the line of succession to the presidency. Today, she is reelected as House Speaker.

She is outspoken to her views and platforms. She passionately spoke about immigration issues, supported the health care reform bill proposed by President Barack Obama, and challenged President Donald Trump’s actions during his presidency. Pelosi is known to be one of the badass female politicians in US history.

4. Gail Boudreaux

On the subject of powerful female CEOs, one should not gloss over Gail Boudreaux. Boudreaux is the President and CEO of Anthem Inc., a health insurance provider. But before becoming a highly thriving businesswoman, did you know she was an athlete?

From a young age, she already displayed her outstanding talent in basketball and played in the Basketball team in her school. When she attended Dartmouth University, she continued to play basketball (where she is recognized as a standout player), along with track and field, and shot put.  She was nationally recognized in the shot put.

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Boudreaux is not only a star athlete but she is also savvy as well. She decided to get a Master’s degree in business and delve into the world of business. Over the years her focus was on healthcare insurance companies. She served in executive roles in Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, and UnitedHealth Group. She worked her way up to create her own consulting firm, Anthem Inc, the second largest company with a woman as CEO. Boudreaux has been featured on Forbes and Fortune lists of influential women in the past decade.

5. Susan Wojcicki

Susan Wojcicki the CEO of the most popular video sharing website, YouTube. A Californian native, she has been involved in the tech industry for over 20 years. She first started working in the marketing department in Intel.  She was one of the first people who was involved in the foundation of Google.

Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page rented her garage and developed Google's search engine there in 1998. A year later, Google was launched and she worked in the online advertising business, AdSense, and worked in Google Analytics, Google Books and Google Images. She also worked in Google’s video service. YouTube, at that time was a competitor with the video service in Google, was gaining a lot of users. Having observed the potential of the website, she acquisitioned Youtube for $1.65 billion in 2006 and from then on YouTube flourished.

In 2014, she became Youtube’s CEO. Time magazine listed her as “one of the most influential people in 2015”, and even described her as the “most powerful woman on the internet”.  

6. Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams is a politician, lawyer, and voting rights activist who served in the House of Representatives in Georgia from 2007 to 2017. She is also the founder of Fair Fight, a voting rights organization based in Georgia.

Abrams started her career as a tax attorney then became a deputy city attorney at Atlanta in 2002. She then moved on to politics; she first served as a representative in the Georgia House of Representatives under the Democratic party in 2006. In 2018, she ran for governor in the state of Georgia. The 2018 gubernatorial race was filled with controversy. Due to cases with fraudulent voter registration and political control over the election, Abrams lost the election fewer than 55,000 votes due to voter suppression. The event also inspired her to found Fair Fight, as a way to help protect the right to vote not just in Georgia, but in all states.

Abrams and FairFight paved the way to help the voters to vote freely and without suppression. They were able to organize a movement that helped register 800,000 Georgian residents to vote in 2020. The New York Times and Washington Post recognize that this move helped President Joe Biden win the presidential race as this boosted more Democratic votes in the state.For her nonviolent campaign for voting rights, Abrams has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

7. Rihanna

Robyn Rihanna Fenty, or famously known as Rihanna is a pop and R&B singer who gained worldwide recognition in the late 2000s due to her mainstream hits, her status as a “sex symbol” in the music industry, versatile voice and her fashion sense.

She is one of the best-selling music artists of all time with over 250 million record sales worldwide. In 2017, she released her own beauty cosmetics line, Fenty. In 2019, she launched her fashion line also called Fenty in which she partnered with Louis Vuitton MH. She is also the founder of the nonprofit organization Clara Lionel Foundation. She is also known for being one of the most charitable celebrities, with her donating $8 million to coronavirus relief efforts, a million dollars to New York’s needy, and $2 million dollars to LA abuse victims.

Rihanna is nothing short of a modern icon. Even though she faced abuse, it didn’t stop her from achieving success as an artist and entertainer. She had earned several number 1 hit songs, nine Grammy Awards, six Guinness World Records. Forbes ranked her as one of the top ten highest paid celebrities. As of 2019, she is recognized as the wealthiest female musician. Time magazine named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2018.

8. Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates is the co-chairman of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is known as the most powerful woman in philanthropy.  Founded in 2000, the foundation was introduced to help people lead healthy, productive lives and to also promote women’s rights. It is the world’s largest private charitable foundation.

Not only is she a philanthropist, she also served as the general manager of Microsoft, a computer software company that her husband, Bill Gates, founded. She helped develop multimedia products for Microsoft such as Publisher, Encarta, Word, Cinemania, and several others.

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Because of her humanitarian efforts (alongside her husband), she is awarded by the Jefferson Awards, receiving the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged. In 2005, Melinda and Bill were named by Time magazine as Persons of the Year. She is consistently listed in Forbes as one the most powerful women.  In 2016, she was awarded the Hanh Peace Medal 2016 of the UN Association of Germany for her “outstanding services to peace and international understanding”.

9. Rosalind Brewer

Rosalind Brewer will go down in Starbucks Hall of Fame as being the first woman and African-American to serve as COO of Starbucks. She is also an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.   Before her tenure in Starbucks, she was the CEO of Sam’s Club, a company that helped make radical changes in grocery shopping services by advanced online ordering of groceries.

At Starbucks, Brewer helped implement better policy changes and racial bias training for employees. She also advanced Starbuck’s sustainability initiatives including the introduction of using reusable versions of Starbucks holiday cups.

As of March 2021, she is now serving as the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, making her the first African American CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Forbes and Fortune magazine ranked her as a “Highly Powerful Woman” and USA Today recognized her as “one of corporate America’s most prominent women and black female executives”.

10. Mary Barra

Mary Barra has been the CEO of General Motors since 2014. In the automakers industry history, she is the first woman to lead one of the biggest automakers in the USA. She invested billions of dollars in electric vehicles, self-driving cars and ride-share services called Maven.

Before being appointed as CEO, Barra served as the executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain at General Motors. Under her supervision in General Motors as a CEO, they consistently scored high in gender equity reports and is one of the only two global businesses that have no gender pay gap.

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Forbes, Fortune and Time magazine has listed her as one of the most powerful women. She was also awarded the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute’s Legend in Leadership Awards. In Institutional Investor’s survey of top executives, she achieved first place in the autos and auto parts sector.

These women not only proved themselves and to the world how powerful and skillful they are in their chosen career path, they also made significant changes in the society. They helped inspire aspiring women to push themselves and to believe that they too can be highly successful.