First up, International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director & chairwoman Christine Lagarde. Forbes named her one of the most powerful women in 2014 & 2018 and ranked her at 22nd place of the Most Powerful People in the World last year. Her influence in the world economy is evident through her leadership in the European debt crisis, the US-China trade war and the adoption of digital currency across the world.
As prime minister of the United Kingdom – the first woman to hold the post – the late Margaret Thatcher revolutionised the country’s economy, weakened its trade unions, won the Falklands War, battled the Irish Republican Army (IRA), revived British foreign policy and survived an assassination attempt – amongst her many other feats. She was a divisive figure within her own party and amongst the British public throughout her tenure of over 11 and a half years as prime minister.
Started out as a model turned stockbroker, Martha Stewart is a pioneer in the business of homemaking and entertaining. She founded the first truly ‘omnimedia’ company with a syndicated daytime television show, print magazines and cookbooks, digital content and e-commerce websites as well as merchandising deals with brands such as Kmart, Sears, Macy’s and Home Depot.
Before she was known as Princess Grace of Monaco, she reigned as the queen of the silver screen. Grace Kelly is perhaps most remembered for her roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s films: ‘Dial M for Murder’, ‘Rear Window’ and ‘To Catch a Thief’. She earned an Oscar and a Golden Globe playing against type opposite Bing Crosby in ‘The Country Girl’. This icon of Hollywood glamour retired from acting to marry the Prince of Monaco at the height of her career. For the rest of her life, she was actively involved in philanthropic work around the world through the childhood protection charity she founded, AMADE Mondiale.
She rose to fame with her chart-topping single, ‘Just Dance’ in the late ’00s. After bagging numerous Grammy awards for her singing and songwriting, Lady Gaga proved herself as a multi-faceted talent with her Golden Globe win for ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’ and, more recently, the various award nominations and wins for her critically-acclaimed performance in ‘A Star is Born’. A fashion maverick, Lady Gaga’s over-the-top sense of style never fails to make headlines. Through her music, she champions the message of equality and empowerment and gives the younger generation a voice in the world today.
For many of us, growing up at the turn of the millennium means growing up with Destiny’s Child – the R&B group fronted by Beyoncé – and their girl power anthems like ‘Independent Woman’, ‘Bills, Bills, Bills’ and ‘Survivor’. Today, Beyoncé is even more so a force to be reckoned with. The music she produced as a solo performer has not only won her multiple Grammy awards and filled up arenas across the globe, but continued to inspire women and girls around the world with messages of female independence and empowerment.