Mary Barra, GM Global Product Chief, Makes Forbes Most Powerful Women List image

Forbes magazine has published its annual list of the 100 most powerful women on the planet.

Mary Barra, GM senior vice president of global product development, is on the 41st place, up 35 spots since last year. When it comes to Forbes 2012 list of The World’s Most Powerful Women in Business, Barra is on the 16th place from the total of 20. Barra, 50, is expected to be the successor of Dan Akerson, GM’s Chairman and CEO.

It seems that this year the influential Britons were outran by politicians, philanthropists and entertainers. On the first place is the German chancellor Angela Merkel, also known as the ‘Iron Lady’ of Europe, praised for her embracing of green credentials, the internet and the high public approval ratings for the 2013 general election.

On the second place is the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, raised for her devotement to her job, this year alone travelling to 42 countries, her uncompromising attitude and her handling of the WikiLeaks cable crisis. The third place is held by Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, appreciated for her effort to programmes and plans to eradicate poverty and facilitate access to medical care, education and sanitation services to those needed.

On the fourth place we find Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates, who had the courage to challenge the Vatican over its birth control position. Here are the next 10 most powerful women: Jill Abramson, Executive Editor, New York Times, Sonia Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress, India; Michelle Obama, First Lady, US; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund; Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, US; Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook; Oprah Winfrey, Entrepreneur, Personality; Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCO; Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO, Kraft Foods; Lady Gaga, Musician, Philanthropist.