There is likely no one, male or female, with more power over the global economy than Merkel. As the leader of the largest economy in the European Union, she is the de facto chief of the uneasy alliance of European countries. This fall she has been fighting to keep struggling Greece in the eurozone to prevent possible contagion should it fail, and avoid the worst-case outcome, global economic meltdown. But economists worry (and Merkel has warned) that even Germany does not have complete control over the eurozone drama. Despite the gravity of her job, the largely private leader is also said to have a lighter side. A German daily reported that the former chemist says her respites in times of trouble are, "hiking, cooking and laughing." Her favorite movie: "Out of Africa."
Note: This list is not ordered.
This year's Most Powerful Women are shaping the future of technology, defense, and media.