What is power? What makes a person powerful? Each year, this question is asked by the editors of Forbes magazine when they produce a list of the world’s most powerful people. Later in the year, they release a list of the world’s most powerful women. Looking at the two lists raises some important questions about our values and our views on power.
Appearing on The World’s Most Powerful People 2012 list of 70 people were just six women. Perhaps that is why they also release a separate list of only women. Some people see this second list as evidence that there is still inequity between men and women. After all, there is no list just for men. Others see it as a way to shine a spotlight on the gender which has long been suppressed. They see it as a way to highlight positive change and encourage aspiring young women.
Let’s look a little deeper. According to Forbes editors, the women on The 100 Most Powerful Women list were selected by dividing candidates into seven categories: billionaires, celebrities, business, media, philanthropy and NGOs, politicians, and technology. They then measured their “power” by using three metrics—money (GDP and budget), media (traditional media and social media) and impact (including their influence across industries, cultures and countries, and how actively they use their influence).
If you look closely at the various categories, the common theme is money. For example, billionaires, business women, celebrities, philanthropists, and leaders in the world of technology all have big bucks backing them and making their power possible. But is that what power should be? Is that what we want our world to value?
Hats off to the women on the list—they have no doubt worked hard and accomplished much in order to hold their positions. What concerns people is the lack of acknowledgment of the power of ideas.向在名单中的女性致敬，他们毫无疑问都辛勤地奋斗并且取得了很大的成功才使她们拥有现在的地位，现在使人担心的只是缺乏对思想的权力的承认。
The people on the list may be the face of power and influence, but are they really at the root of changing the world? Is the person who pays the money or holds the title more powerful than the person with the idea? Who would you rather be—the brilliant mind behind the solution or the person who funds it? Either way, more power to you!
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