The impact of Hispanic women—in entertainment, politics and business—is large, and growing. Witness Forbes’ 100 most powerful women in the world, which this year includes an unprecedented 6 Latinas. Here they are, along with the reasons for their inclusion:
Dilma Rouseff (#4) President, Brazil
President Rouseff takes the top spot among the world’s most powerful Hispanic women. She heads the world’s 7th largest economy, a county with an annual gross domestic product of almost $2.5 trillion. Rouseff was instrumental in bringing the World Cup to Brazil in 2014 and will host the 2016 Olympics. She was impressive in her criticism of the United States regarding the recent NSA scandal in her speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
Maria das Gracas Silva Foster (#16), CEO, Petrobras
Maria da Gracas Silva Foster is the first woman to serve as CEO of Petrobras, Brazil’s $100 billion oil giant. Her climb has not been an easy one, growing up as she did in a favela just outside of Rio de Janeiro to earn three Master’s degrees, including one in chemical engineering. She is 60, married with 2 children and currently resides in Rio.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (#19), President, Argentina
Fernandez de Kirchner inherited a country saddled with runaway inflation and a 2002 loan default topping $95 billion. She has achieved substantial success in restoring Argentina’s teetering economy, in large part through her acquisition of international loans. Fernández de Kirchner helped restore the country’s national honor in the wake of the 1980’s Falkland Islands fiasco, creating a new currency note which proudly features those Islands. She created political waves in 2010 when she made same-sex marriage legal in Argentina.
Sofia Vergara (#32), Actress, Businesswoman
This is the 3rd year the 42-year old Vergara, a native of Colombia, will be the highest-paid TV actress in Hollywood for her role on “Modern Family.” She is also a skilled businesswoman who has garnered lucrative marketing contracts with such giants as Pepsi and CoverGirl, and is founder of Latin World Entertainment.
Shakira Mebarak (#58) 37, Entertainer
Shakira, also from Colombia, is one of the most beloved superstars in the world, currently reigning as Facebook’s most liked person with more than 93,000,000 followers, and a panelist on NBC’s “The Voice.” In the course of her career, which began when she was just 13 years old, Shakira has sold a stunning 60 million albums. President Obama appointed Shakira to his Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Giselle Bundchen (#89), Model, Businesswoman
A native of Brazil, Giselle Bundchen continues her reign as the highest-paid model in the world, a title she has now carried for 8 years, earning an impressive $47 million over the past year. She is as brilliant as she is beautiful, expanding her modeling career to high-paying contracts with Chanel and Carolina Herrera, among others. She serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Program and is an active environmentalist, serving as a board member for the Rainforest Alliance.
These powerful Latina women are a testament to the increasing influence and pervasiveness of Latin culture and politics throughout the world.