The World’s Most Powerful Latinas…

It’s a popular quote, “Behind every great man there stands a great woman.” But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes la mujer is standing front and center, wielding enormous power, especially when it comes to Latinas.

This year’s list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, released by Forbes magazine, demonstrates the growing influence of Hispanic women across the globe, with several Latinas making the final roster.

This year’s highest-ranking Latina, 63-year-old Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s President, who vaulted 92 spots from last year to come in at No. 3. Rousseff made international headlines when she was elected to lead Latin America’s largest economy last fall. Rousseff was the first female Chief of Staff under Brazil’s reformist president, Lula da Silva and many expected she’d succeed him in office. She’s now battling a rebellious National Congress that threatens to halt her agenda and the country’s economic boom.

The next Latina on the list: Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, who moved up 51 spots to rank No. 17. Earlier this summer the 58-year-old Fernandez, Argentina’s first female president, announced she’ll run for a second four-year term. Under her leadership, the country’s economy sharply grew, pension and child welfare benefits increased and the poverty dropped. But her re-election campaign could face serious challenges due to the nation’s high inflation rates and opposition from the business and farming communities.

Supermodel Giselle Bundchen is the list’s third highest-ranking Latina. Bundchen moves up 12 spots to take the No. 60 spot. Considered the world’s most powerful supermodel, Bundchen has pocketed $45 million from modeling gigs, endorsement deals and independent business ventures this year. In fact, She’s reportedly close to adding “billionaire” to her resume. But she isn’t just a pretty face. She’s also a United Nations Environmental Goodwill Ambassador and has worked on an animated web series called “Gisele and the Green Team,” to highlight green issues to educate kids and adults.

Here’s a look at other Latinas making this year’s list:

#77: Spanish businesswoman Ana Patricia Boton, CEO, Santander UK
#86: Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla
#93: Portuguese businesswoman Maria Ramos, CEO of South Africa’s Absa Group Banks

So who made the Top 5?

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merckel topped the list #1 in part because of her popularity and efforts to reduce childhood obesity, according to Forbes. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came in second, followed by Rousseff (#3), PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi (#4) and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Click here to see the complete list.

So which Latinas do you think should’ve made the cut? And who do you think will make the roster next year?

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