Polish PM named among world's top female leaders

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has been declared the world's tenth most powerful female political leader in 2017 by the US Forbes magazine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped this year's rankings, ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May and Taiwanese President Tsa Ing-Wen.

Setting out the thinking behind their choice, Forbes editors wrote on the magazine's website that these three women "are making decisions that could affect the course of history".

The US magazine noted that the enormous influence female leaders had brought to bear on world developments in 2017 belied their number, with women presiding over fewer than 10 percent of the countries belonging to the United Nations.

Forbes emphasised the Germany Chancellor had retained her top spot, remaining "solidly" in charge of the country since 2005, where she was now "trying to keep the European coalition intact and ward off the growing far-right influence of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has capitalised on anti-immigrant fervour".

Meanwhile the British prime minister has made a debut in the rankings after assuming office in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum, and currently has to "hold together a fractious coalition government and steer the country through Brexit".

A newcomer to the Forbes list as well, the Polish head of government came tenth, just below Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed and ahead of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a separate Forbes ranking, of the world's 100 Most Powerful Women, Szydlo finished thirty first, with the magazine noting Poland's prime minister "has been on a mission to implement widespread social reforms in housing, education, healthcare, retirement, the economy, business and taxes". The cabinet's 'Family 500 Plus' children's allowance was singled out as one of Szydlo's "most popular initiatives".

Merkel and May head this list as well, with US philantropist Melinda Gates coming third.

Source: PAP