SINGAPORE – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (search) has beaten 99 female heads of state, chief executives and celebrities to top Forbes magazine's list of the world's most powerful women for the second year in a row.
Daytime talk show giant Oprah Winfrey was ninth on the list and the magazine's choice for most powerful female celebrity
The magazine's gauge of a "composite of visibility, measured by press citations, and economic impact" had China's Vice-Premier Wu Yi (search) in second followed by Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoschenko in third.
Scandal-tainted Philippine President Gloria Arroyo was 4th, Forbes said, but she "could soon be off" if she fails to survive impeachment proceedings brought against her by the opposition who alleged she cheated her way to victory last year.
In fact, the magazine saw Rice as wielding such raw power that she won last year's inaugural rankings, even before President Bush gave her the secretary of state job. She won as Bush's National Security Adviser.
"With her steely nerve and delicate manners, Rice lately has reinvigorated her position with diplomatic activism," said Forbes on its Web site about its no. 1 in terms of feminine clout.
"Rice has played a key, behind-the-scenes role in all of President George W. Bush's major decisions," Forbes said.
About the runner up, the magazine said: "Wu Yi has been busy this year as she helps China battle disgruntled textile manufacturers, due to the lifting of World Trade Organization (search) quotas."
Like magic, "Harry Potter" author J.K Rowling shot up the rankings to no. 40 from 85th last year following the mid-July release of the latest book in the popular series. Rowling is the top British woman in the poll, ahead of 62nd-ranked Cherie Blair, the prime minister's wife and Queen Elizabeth II in 75th place.
Among the notables who made the 2004 rankings but disappeared this year include former Indonesian leader Megawati Sukarnoputri and ex-Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina which "illustrates how fleeting power is," said Forbes.