Merkel is currently serving her fourth term as leader of the European nation, having first risen to power in 2005. She has led the centre-right Christian Democratic Union party for nineteen years.
Merkel is one of very few female world leaders. After Theresa May lost her prime minstership in the UK earlier this year, Merkel remains the only commander-in-chief of a G20 nation.
In 2015, she was named TIME Person of the Year.
Merkel is often referred to as the de facto leader of Europe. She leads the region’s largest economy, and throughout her years in office, has steered Germany through financial crisis and back to growth.
In recent years, Merkel is perhaps most well-known for her crusade against the growing anti-immigration sentiment spreading through Europe. She has opened Germany’s doors to more than one million Syrian refugees.
In February at the Munich Security Conference, Merkel issued a public attack on the Trump administration, citing that the world’s current security order had been put at risk. Her speech received a standing ovation, something that is uncommon at such a conference.
Merkel said that the once global order led by the US had, “collapsed into many tiny parts” and said, “we cannot just smash it, we need to cooperate.”
Moira Forbes, Executive Vice President of Forbes, says the 2019 list of powerful women is a reminder of the huge strides made by women and the great opportunity they have to define the decade ahead.
“This year’s list of World’s Most Powerful Women is a collection of innovators and instigators who are leading on the world stage to redefine traditional power structures and forge lasting impact in every industry and sphere of influence,” says Forbes.
In October, Merkel announced she would be stepping down as German Chancellor in 2021. She has said she will not seek out any political post after her term ends.