Nicola Sturgeon ranked second most powerful woman in UK

Sturgeon Image copyright PA
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon is ranked 50th in the world overall

Nicola Sturgeon has been ranked as the second most powerful woman in the UK, behind only the Queen.

The first minister is one of six UK representatives in Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's most powerful and influential women.

A Scottish government spokesman said the list underlined the importance both of the first minister's office and the profile of Scotland as a nation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped the list for the sixth year running.

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was placed second, with Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the US Federal Reserve, third.

The Queen is 29th, while Ms Sturgeon is 50th overall.

The rankings consider influence, media presence, wealth and success at implementing change.

The other British women who made the list are Bank of England deputy governor Nemat Shafik at 59, Guardian editor Katharine Viner at 68, Economist editor Zanny Minton Beddoes at 78, and Eliza Manningham-Buller, chairwoman of the Wellcome Trust, at 88.

Who are the top five?

Image copyright Reuters

1. Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the list for the sixth year in a row - and the 11th time in total.

As a central figure in German politics ever since reunification, Ms Merkel has led Germany since 2005 and is a leading force in the European Union.

Choosing her for top spot, Forbes noted that "if there is a single leader able to defy existential economic and political challenges to the European Union, from edges and core, it has been Angela Merkel."

Image copyright AFP

2. Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton looks set to go head-to-head with Donald Trump for the position of President of the United States in November.

Mrs Clinton, who has had previous spells in the White House as first lady to husband Bill and as foreign secretary to current President Barack Obama, is bidding to become the first female President.

She has also served as a senator for New York state, and was a leading lawyer, serving as the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation and the first female partner at Rose Law Firm.

Image copyright Reuters

3. Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen is chair of the Federal Reserve, the central banking system of the United States.

Having previously chaired the White House Council of Economic Advisors under the Bill Clinton administration, Ms Yellen took over at the Fed in 2014, and managed the body through its first interest rate rise since June 2006.

Forbes said she is known for "steadiness, not inscrutability", lauding her use of "plain sentences and easy logic" despite being "the world's top market-mover".

Image copyright Reuters

4. Melinda Gates

Co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, alongside her former Microsoft head husband, Mrs Gates organised $4.2bn in charitable work and global development in 2015 alone.

The foundation has given out $36.7bn in grant payments since it was founded in 2000, with Mrs Gates directing the organisation and in particular championing investments in women and girls around the globe.

Forbes said her work had "inspired other big donors and changed the way funders think about effective philanthropy".

Image copyright Reuters

5. Mary Barra

Mary Barra was promoted from chief executive to president of General Motors in January, having guided the firm to record profits in 2015.

Ms Barra has been credited with turning around the fortunes of the American car-making giant, which had to recall 30 million vehicles in 2014 due to faulty ignition switches blamed for at least 124 deaths, by fostering strong domestic sales alongside growth in China.

Forbes said her latest promotion was "no surprise", with Ms Barra leading the company on a "noticeable comeback" - and earning herself a compensation package of $28.6m last year.

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