Special Report

The Most Influential Women of the 21st Century

Source: Caroline McCredie / Getty Images

Rihanna
> Area of influence: Entertainment
> Wikipedia pageviews (2 yr.): 10,660,430

Few artists can match the success of Rihanna in the 21st century. The Barbadian singer has had 14 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and 31 songs reached the top 10. She’s also won nine Grammy Awards. She lists Madonna among her influences and considers herself a black Madonna.

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Betsy DeVos
> Area of influence: Education
> Wikipedia pageviews (2 yr.): 3,951,796

Betsy DeVos is the secretary of education for President Donald Trump. She is a longtime supporter of school choice, school voucher programs, and charter schools. Her positions on education, as well as amending Obama-era guidelines on rules pertaining to sexual assault cases on college campuses, have made her a controversial figure in the Trump administration.

Source: Theo Wargo / Getty Images

Rachel Maddow
> Area of influence: Television
> Wikipedia pageviews (2 yr.): 3,013,337

Ratings for Rachel Maddow’s eponymous cable TV show that focuses on politics have surged, as she takes aim at Trump on a nightly basis. Though Maddow is openly gay, she does not use the program to further gay rights or other causes.

Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Sheryl Sandberg
> Area of influence: Business
> Wikipedia pageviews (2 yr.): 2,533,388

Under Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook has become a money-making machine as well as a significant part of people’s lives. Recently, Sandberg has had to deal with high-profile concerns regarding the company, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving the misuse of data and the related privacy concerns, and the apparent plan to discredit George Soros and other critics of Facebook.

Source: Jemal Countess / Getty Images

Melinda Gates
> Area of influence: Philanthropy
> Wikipedia pageviews (2 yr.): 1,442,090

Melinda Gates is the one of the most powerful philanthropists in the world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the world’s largest private charitable organization, with a trust endowment of $40 billion. The foundation is addressing issues such as education and poverty, and Gates has focused particularly on women’s rights.