As her year as Switzerland’s president comes to an end, Simonetta Sommaruga joins 99 other women on the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most influential women.
Sommaruga was ranked 56th. The top three were Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde and Kamala Harris, America’s new vice president. Merkel has held the top spot ten years in a row.
And while Switzerland’s president trailed New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern (32nd) and Queen Elizabeth (46th), she ranked ahead of Nicola Sturgeon (59th), Scotland’s first minister, Sanna Marin (85th), Finland’s prime minister and the singers Rihanna (69th) and Beyoncé (72nd).
Sommaruga (60) trained as a pianist before entering politics and is a member of Switzerland’s Socialist Party. Her political career took off when she became the director of a Consumer Protection Agency in Bern in 1993. She was Switzerland’s president in 2015 before taking the role again in 2020.
In Switzerland, the role of president is held for one year by a member of the Federal Council, Switzerland’s 7-member executive. The role is largely ceremonial. Executive decisions are taken collectively by the 7-member council rather than by the president. For 5 of the last 10 years the position has been held by a woman.
This year’s Forbes ranking of The World’s Most Powerful Women is the magazine’s 17th. The list recognises the trailblazers who are deftly steering countries, constituents and communities through one of the most tumultuous times in modern history, wrote the New York-based magazine.
Forbes article (in English)