It's Not 'Forbes' Fault Men Are 'More Powerful' Than Women

Hillary Rodham ClintonForbes magazine is always publishing some list or another, giving us the who's who of the world's Wealthiest, Most Influential, Most Interesting, or most recently, Most Powerful. Seventy names made the cut for Forbes' Most Powerful People list. But the names on the list aren't nearly as noteworthy as the mix of people mentioned. Specifically, only SIX of the 70 people are women. Only 8 percent! That's messed up!

The thing is ... it's easy to point the finger at Forbes -- blame them for neglecting to include at least 29 more women so the list would be evenly split among men and women. But how could they do that if there aren't actually 29+ more women who meet the criteria set for making the list? (The criteria, just FYI: the number of people a person has power over, the financial resources a person controls, the number of spheres of influence the person has, and how actively the person wields his or her power.)

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Also, consider the fact that the Time 100 list for 2011 included 34 women. Still pretty shabby, definitely not equal.

Sadly, I think this is less about Forbes, Time, or any magazine's round-up. It's more about what's going on in the world. These lists probably are legit indicators how women are faring when it comes to equality or holding power in the world, and for that, really, we should all be ashamed of ourselves. It's bad enough that the U.S. has never had a female president when more than 50 women have been elected heads of state in countries like the Philippines, New Zealand, and Ireland. But our publications can't even come up with an equal ratio of powerful women to powerful men? What the heck?

I can't speak for the rest of the world, but when it comes to the U.S., there is definitely an underlying disease we've got to remedy to make this right. Women continue to be subverted by negative stereotypes and imagery in the media, and as Marie C. Wilson said in the documentary Miss Representation, "We cannot be what we can't see." We need to start creating change that leads to us seeing more women in power, so that embarrassing lists like this Forbes one become a relic of the past.

What do you think about Forbes' Most Powerful People list? Is it their fault there aren't more women on it, or is it ours?


Image via Veni/Flickr

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