11 of the World’s Most Powerful Women of Color

Being a woman may seem hard due to all the prejudices and the sexism that goes on, and it’s harder when you are a woman of color, but apparently, that didn’t stop some of the most powerful women.

Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo, USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008, Davos, Switzerland,Most Powerful Women 01/27/08.
Being one of the Most Powerful Women don't just happen. You work toward goals and you don't give up.
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They are some of the most powerful women in the world. These women inspire us as they succeed against all odds and make a name for themselves in amazing ways. 

Women are God’s gift to man and to mankind! 

The most powerful women in the world. We should learn from them, be proud of them and follow in the same footsteps as these astounding women, so we can make our mark in the world.

They are a part of the “No Sleep Gang” because they “don’t get tired.” Often, they have “two phones” and are able to “bounce back” from upsets.

Are you ready to learn about a few of the accomplishments these women of color have achieved? If so, keep reading! Here is a list of 11 inspirational women of color [most powerful women] who made it and broke all the stereotypes held against them.

Most Powerful Women Named in 2016

Ursula Burns

She started out as an intern in the Xerox company and now… she’s the CEO. This signifies to black women but to women and men everywhere how hard work, determination, and perseverance can go a long way.

Her work as the company’s CEO also led to Xerox’s revenue at the end of the year to $21.4 billion. She’s the first black woman to lead a fortune 500 company. Imagine that! Surely, if she can do it, so can we! Ursula Burns set a goal and she worked toward it.

With strategic planning, she sets and achieves mountains of milestones and conquers goals like a rolling pin but she doesn’t stop. She continues to soar in the world of business previously thought a man’s world.

Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi is the CEO of PepsiCo, and as a CEO and Chairman, she is still going strong. As she leads the company, according to PepsiCo, the value in the stock market increased by 18% due to her strong leadership.

Her brilliant ideas and her determination to keep the company successful and help her become known as one of the most powerful women of today.

Since the soda market was gradually decreasing, Indra Nooyi introduced the company into the healthier market and is continuing to make her mark, as she continues to improve the company and everything it has to offer.

Her defiance against current situations (like the decline in the soda market) and the ability to adapt quickly is extremely admirable, since many others may have panicked in the same situation.

We can learn to be more resilient from Indra Nooyi, an Indian American, and we can learn to think on our feet and to keep striving for success no matter how difficult the situation may be.

Tansu Çiller

Tansu Çiller served as Tukey’s first and only female prime minister during 1993-1996. Before becoming prime minister, she was extremely accomplished and achieved a doctorate in the subject of economics.

Originally, she taught as a professor before becoming a politician. During the time she spent as the country’s prime minister, she successfully modernized Turkey’s army, so they would be prepared for any threats and be able to effectively handle threats that may have been posed.

The fact Tansu successfully attempted and completed the task of modernizing the army no one else managed to do, showed how she stands from the previous prime ministers, and how she stood for change. She stands tall among other women named most powerful women.

Atifete Jahjaga

She was the fourth President of Kosovo, and Atifete was also the first and only female president of the country. On top of that, she was also the youngest person who was elected to the office.

Being the youngest may have seemed like a negative, however, she did not let her age deter her in her mission towards the success of her country.

These women have taught us so much, and we just need to apply what we learn from them into our own lives, so maybe we can be known as one of the most powerful women on Forbes.  At least, half as remarkable as these women.

Oprah Winfrey

Everyone knows Oprah Winfrey, why? Because she is the first black woman to host a talk show. However, not many people know prior to her success, she faced many, many difficulties.

Oprah was sexually assaulted as a young child, and she lived in a dangerous neighborhood, all of which could have taken a toll on her and could have made her bitter, however, her experiences made her better and stronger.

Moreover, she went against stereotypes not only against her color, but some felt she wasn’t “attractive” enough to make her dreams come true. Although she was rejected numerous times, she still persevered to ensure that she could become a success.

She was excluded because she was ‘too black’- but she didn’t let that stop her. Nowadays, she is one of the highest paid women in the world, over two billion in net worth. Oprah is known for being a philanthropist and empowering women of color around the world.

Her dedication and vision should motivate and inspire other women, and act as a symbol of how something seemingly impossible can be made possible. It’s clear to see why Oprah is one of the leading most powerful women on the face of the earth.

Helene Gayle

Helene Gayle, a black woman, was president and CEO of CARE USA. It is an organization that helps people in need all around the world and she also runs other non-profit organizations that assist people who desperately need help.

Her extensive donations and her huge organizations have fed millions of people around the world and have saved millions of lives.

She and her company worked to combat poverty and provided aid after natural disasters, and within 6 months they “had provided relief to more than 300,000 people.” Don’t you think that is amazing?

She used her position and influence to make a positive impact on the world, and she will always be remembered for her philanthropic activities. Her position of power save lives and improve lives, which definitely makes her an extraordinary woman of color.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

She was the first African-American woman to lead the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a healthcare company. In 2003, she became CEO, taking on a huge responsibility.

Risa managed more than 800 grants and manage a company that earns just over $9 billion every year. Wow, what a responsibility, right?

She and her company work to improve the well-being of people in the US and enable them to live longer and healthier lives through their work. This is truly incredible, and it shows us how you can earn while actively helping others, thus making a positive difference in the world.


Maybe you’ve forgotten about Cleopatra, or think she doesn’t belong on this list, but have you forgotten about her extensive list of achievements?

First, when she was forced off the throne by her brother, she assembled an army to take the throne back. She was also fluent in 6 languages and was extremely educated- showing her to be a wise and skillful woman. Next, she became pharaoh.

Back then for a woman to be the pharaoh was a HUGE achievement so, hats off to Cleopatra for leading the way for some of the most powerful women despite the troubles she may have faced to become a ruler when society greatly opposed women being in power.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi

Baroness Warsi was given the title “Britain’s most powerful Muslim woman.” She has a cabinet position in the UK parliament and was the first Muslim woman to achieve such a position.

Sayeeda Warsi, an extremely influential person, and among the most powerful women. She has done what no other Muslim woman managed to do.

The fact she secured a cabinet position and made regular contributions shows how she also played a part in the betterment of our society- making her legacy a great one.

Johanna Amunjela

Johanna’s work also deserved to be celebrated on the list of most powerful women, as the Namibian dedicated years of work into cancer research. She has a Ph.D. and is noted immensely for someone of her age.

Her work researching cancer has led to her discovery that changes in protein behaviors may cause cancer to spread. Amunjela was also one of the first people to research into this topic.

Johanna Amunjela’s work helped scientists understand cancer better. It could eventually lead to finding a cure for cancer, which will consequently save lives. Making her work vital to the scientific and medical worlds.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama, former President Omaba’s wife, is one of the most powerful women in the world. Because she’s such an inspiring woman, she empowers women and girls all over the world. Michelle uses her status to influence people in a positive way.

She used her influence to motivate, encourage and inspire. Moreover, she worked to helped to tackle childhood obesity and she is extremely charitable.

She has the makings of a great woman, and time and time again, she has shown the world she is always willing to play an active role in the betterment of society, which makes us all love her even more (if that’s even possible!).

Most Powerful Women: Conclusion

These phenomenal women have all proved that race, ethnicity or gender should not and cannot hinder success. Their staggering successes should motivate us and encourage us all to be the best women that we can be.

We should break any stereotypes holding us back. We are all brave, strong and most powerful women with the ability to make a difference, so never let anything like your gender or ethnicity hold you back.

Certainly, the list doesn’t stop.  Read more by visiting Forbes magazine, https://www.forbes.com/power-women/.

Image source: Wikimedia commons

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