Special Report

The Most Powerful Women in the World

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Earning $60 million in 2018, with her On The Run II tour with husband Jay-Z grossing around $5 million per night, Forbes ranked Beyoncé, 37, one of the highest paid female musicians. But it is more than just the Benjamins that make Beyoncé a powerful woman. Just Google Beyoncé influence to find pages of articles dissecting her effect over a generation, especially with feminist themes in her music. She even inspired a university course around black feminism and a follow-up book. Her charity BeyGOOD works to help the poor, homeless, and underprivileged across the world.

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Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift dominated both Twitter and live music in 2018. With only 13 original tweets, she was named the most influential woman on Twitter last year, based on her genuine engagement. She even used the power of social media to encourage people to vote for the 2018 midterms. Her tweet contributed to a spike in voter registration. At 28-years-old, the pop star also landed the No. 2 spot for the world’s highest paid women in music last year. Her Reputation tour is officially the highest grossing tour in U.S. history at $266 million.

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Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is first woman to create three hit shows with more than 100 episodes each. She currently owns Thursday nights on ABC. She created the critically acclaimed dramas such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How to Get Away With Murder” through her company Shondaland. Rhimes is worth an estimated $135 million and is known as the wealthiest female showrunner in Hollywood. In 2017, she inked a four-year deal with Netflix worth at least 300 million, expanding her TV empire outside ABC. Perhaps Rhimes’ reach is best summed up in her 2016 TED talk: “My television shows are back to back to back on Thursday night. Around the world, my shows air in 256 territories in 67 languages for an audience of 30 million people.”

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Serena Williams

Serena Williams is Forbes’ highest paid female athlete for the third straight year with earnings of more than $18 million. The 23-time Grand Slam winner also made headlines in 2018 as GQ’s “Woman of the Year.” She is one of the only females to ever be named to the traditional men’s only list. Over the years, she has inspired a generation of girls and boys to start playing tennis, some of whom are now playing her for championship titles. At 37, Williams launched her own clothing line, Serena, in 2018 and she returned to tennis after a 14-month maternity leave. ESPN called it, possibly her most impactful year yet, not for her athleticism, but for her ability to use her voice to empower women to balance work and family, just like she is doing. Williams is also a philanthropist. She opened a secondary school for underprivileged children in Kenya in 2008.

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Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra may not be the most famous or highest paid actress in Hollywood, but she is perhaps the most successful Bollywood actor to cross over to Hollywood, according to Forbes. Chopra, 36 is also the first Indian actor to lead an American drama series in ABC’s “Quantico.” Her production company, Mumbai-based Purple Pebble Pictures, promotes Indian filmmaking and talent. She is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Chopra’s courtship and lavish wedding with the much younger Nick Jonas has also put her in the spotlight recently.

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