So you want to be a woman of power and influence. Should you go to business school? Get into politics? Take singing lessons?
All of those avenues seem to be working, according to Ladies’ Home Journal. The magazine’s November issue includes its first ranking of the 30 most powerful women in America.
These lists are made for arguing over, but there may not be much discussion over the top spot here in Oprah’s world. The 29 names following Winfrey generated plenty of debate. In her note to readers, editor Sarah Mahoney says her staff wondered “How on earth could you compare, for example, the power of a Fortune 500 CEO with a teenage pop star?”
Ladies’ Home Journal does it anyway, concocting an index that assigns various weights to eight factors: cultural clout, financial impact, achievement, visibility, power to influence, intellectual impact, political know-how, and staying power.
Oprah, of course, has gobs of everything, although the magazine gave her only 50 points out of 100 for political know-how. The runner-up, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, fell short in visibility, while No. 3 Martha Stewart lacked political know-how and intellectual impact. Low scores in those two categories kept former Mouseketeer Britney Spears down at No. 9, just ahead of eBay CEO Meg Whitman (not enough visibility).
In our unofficial breakdown, businesspeople led the way with seven of the 30 spots: Whitman (No. 10), MTV President Judith McGrath (13), Paramount Pictures boss Sherry Lansing (16), Hewlett-Packard CEO Carleton Fiorina (17), Avon CEO Andrea Jung (18), Gates Foundation Co-Chair Patty Stonesifer (19), and investment guru Abby Joseph Cohen (21).
Next came politics with five women: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (5), National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (14), Presidential Adviser Karen Hughes (22), Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg (24), Laura Bush (26), and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (28).
The five media personalities are Winfrey (1), Stewart (3), Barbara Walters (4), Katie Couric (8), and Diane Sawyer (15).
Spears (9) led the five entertainers, followed by Julia Roberts (11), Madonna (13), Faith Hill (20), and Jennifer Lopez (30).
The literary world contributed four women: Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling (6), Danielle Steel (23), Maya Angelou (27), and Toni Morrison (29).
Supreme Court Justices O’Connor (2) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (7) formed their own category, as did tennis star Venus Williams (25).