For the forth straight year, Dilma Rousseff has managed to retain her title as the most powerful Latina in the world.
The 66-year-old Brazilian president—the first woman ever to hold that office—ranks No. 4 on Forbes’ recently released The World’s Most Powerful Women 2014 list.
It’s the magazine’s definitive annual guide to the extraordinary female icons and leaders, groundbreakers and ceiling crashers who command the world stage.
Rousseff, who dropped two spots from her No. 2 rank in 2013, is heralded as “one of the world’s most powerful heads of state.” She’s more than halfway through her term as president of Brazil, the world’s seventh-largest national economy with a GDP of nearly $2.4 trillion. The country is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.
Rousseff criticized the U.S. for spying during her opening speech at the UN General Assembly this fall and cancelled a state visit over reports that the National Security Agency was intercepting her emails.
Mary Barra, the first woman to head General Motors, moves up 28 spots from last year’s list to come in No. 7 in 2014.
As the highest-ranking woman at GM, the 52-year-old Latina executive has played a vital role in the company’s restoration, successfully overseeing an array of recent vehicle introductions. She has received high-level recognitions for her contributions to her field, including being named the No. 1 most powerful woman in the automotive industry by Fortune and among the “50 Latinas Who Rock Fortune 500 Companies” by Latina magazine.
Barra took the reins of GM in January and in April was summoned to appear in front of the U.S. Congress to answer for faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths, saying “I am deeply sorry.” But the 33-year veteran, who began at the company at 18 while working toward an electrical engineering degree, remained poised and confident under fire. Her leadership, she said, will bring about a “new GM” able to regain customer trust.
Maria das Graças Silva Foster, the CEO of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras-Petróleo Brasil, moves up two spots to come in at No. 16 this year.
The 60-year-old Brazilianbusiness executive escaped a childhood in a favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro to become a chemical engineer and later the first female CEO of Petrobras. After 30 years with the company, she has the experience and connections (including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff) to make running a company with assets exceeding $100 billion work. The company posted $141 billion in sales and it continues to anchor Brazil’s economy as it invests in vast underwater oil field exploration off the nation’s coast.
The next Latina on the list: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who rises from No. 26 in 2013 to No. 19 this year.
The 61-year-old Argentinean president, who reigns over a country with the world’s highest inflation rates, is still trying to make amends with global creditors after the $95 billion default on its foreign debt in 2002. And it’s working: this year marks the first time Argentina has received loans from international creditors since then. The offers, including talk of $1 billion from Goldman Sachs, follows a $500 million settlement with five foreign companies. Kirchner legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, and in April announced she’ll be godmother to a lesbian couple’s child; they made the ask on Facebook.
Here’s a look at the other Latinas on the list…
No. 25 Michelle Bachelet, President, Chile
No. 32 Sofia Vergara, Actress
No. 58 Shakira Mebarak, Singer
No. 89 Gisele Bundchen, Supermodel
Click here to see the complete list of honorees.