May 29

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The world’s 6 most powerful women in 2015

According to Forbes.com, these 6 women are among the top 10 most powerful in Europe! Can you guess who is who based on the descriptions? Match the names to the descriptions.

Related quiz: Top Jobs in EU and National Contexts

The world’s most powerful women in 2015

Christine Lagarde – Hillary Rodham Clinton – Janet Yellen – Angela Merkel – Michelle Obama

adapted from a story by Caroline Howard/Forbes  

1 German Chancellor………………………………………. continues her reign as the most powerful woman on the planet for past nine years. Why? She clinched a third four-year term of Europe’s most vibrant economy in December 2014, making her the longest-serving elected EU head of state. She fought off a national recession during the global economic crisis with stimulus packages and government subsidies for companies that cut hours for workers, and she is in the thick of trying to help Greece revive its economy. She has used her power against ISIS, breaking the post-Nazi-era taboo of direct involvement in military actions by sending arms to Kurdish fighters. In the Russia-Ukraine crisis, she has been engaging in shuttle diplomacy trying to broker a peace deal with Vladimir Putin.

2 The presumptive Democratic front-runner in the 2016 presidential race……………………………………………………… is starting her campaign miles ahead of her challengers. Her Ready for Hillary super PAC raised $9 million in 2014 and some of her biggest potential donors have yet to commit. A recent CNN/ORC poll, seven out of 10 Democratic voters favored her, while her closest Republican contender, Marco Rubio, trailed her by 12 points. She is the first and only first lady to become a U.S. Senator, not to mention presidential candidate. Her bestselling 2014 memoir, “Hard Choices,” which chronicles her time as Secretary of State, reportedly earned her a high-seven-figure advance. Her popularity remains high despite the “emailgate” revelations that she used her own private email address and server while Secretary of State, instead of the government system, potentially making her correspondence vulnerable to hacking and foreign surveillance. She has said she regretted the decision and complied with government rules. In September 2014 she marked a personal first, the birth of her grandchild, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky.

3 ………………………………… made history in 2014 when she became the first female head of the Federal Reserve.  The Yale and Brown educated economist has barely had a moments rest since then: She took over shortly after the central bank began unwinding its recession era bond buying program and then deftly ushered markets through six cuts that brought monthly purchases to $0 from a peak of $85 billion. Now the Fed is on track to loosen the economic reigns further by beginning to hike interest rates as soon as June 2015 — a feat it hasn’t attempted since 2004. With so much at stake a single word from her can send asset prices swinging but she received praise in March 2015 when she managed to change guidance without spooking investors. Meanwhile she has been fighting a call to increase congressional supervision of the Fed while pushing to improve the Fed’s oversight of big banks.

4 ………………………………………. is entering  the last year of her first term heading the International Monetary Fund, the organization which serves as economic advisor and backstop for 188 countries. When she took over in 2011 the world economy was still recovering from the financial crisis. Today Lagarde is projecting 3.5% annual global growth — only a hint above last year’s rate and down from 4% in 2011. Lagarde calls this the “new mediocre” and is vocal about her concern that slow growth has become the “new reality.” How is the IMF helping? By viewing emerging markets as unique locals rather than a single entity and warning central bankers ? the U.S. Federal Reserve especially ? to be wary of the potential negative effects of differing monetary policy across the globe. Under Lagarde the IMF has supported efforts to increase female labor force participation as way to reduce poverty and inequality.

5 Facebook Chief Operating Officer …………………………………… knows how to command attention. Her 2013 bestseller, “Lean In,” won famous fans including Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Beyonce, spawned thousands of Lean In Circle support groups, inspired a spin-off, “Lean In for Graduates,” published in 2014, and a Sony Pictures movie deal. The mother of two is a former Google executive, wooed in 2007 to Facebook by billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg to the fledgling startup run by college dropouts. Before Google, the Harvard MBA worked as chief of staff to then-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. She is a significant shareholder and oversees sales, marketing, business development, human resources and communications at the social media giant. Under Sandberg’s leadership, Facebook has improved its earnings performance and revamped its mobile strategy. She recently joined The Giving Pledge, promising to give away at least half of her net worth to charitable causes. Her husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, died unexpectedly of head trauma after a fall on a treadmill in early May. He was just 47 years old.

6 While her husband may sit in the Oval Office, First Lady …………………………………. has her own power seat in the White House. At the start of the year, she traveled to Southeast Asia to push an initiative that aims to get more girls educated and therefore improve the well-being and financial stability of young women. In the summer of 2014, she spoke of the administration’s effort to end homelessness among military veterans in the U.S. — cities like Phoenix and Salt Lake City have been successful — and pushed back against measures that would allow some schools to opt out of the federal dietary standards for school lunches. Obama gained attention after opting not to cover her head during a visit with the president to Saudi Arabia.

Read the full story on Forbes.com

ANSWERS: 1-Angela Merkel, 2 – Hillary Rodham Clinton, 3 – Janet Yellen, 4 – Christine Lagarde, 5 – Sheryl Sandberg, 6 – Michelle Obama


VOCABULARY   (B2 and above)

reign = control, influence, tenure

EU head of state = prime minister or president of an EU member state   Related quiz: Top Jobs in the EU

in the thick of doing something = involved in the busiest part of doing something

presumptive = possible, probable

trailed her by 12 points = he was 12 points behind her

vulnerable = sensitive, susceptible

deftly usher = elegantly guide, gracefully escort

hike interest rates = raise/ increase interest rates

backstop = block, barricade

be vocal about = express your opinion about something

startup = a new company that’s just beginning to operate    Related quiz: Dropouts, Startups and Turnover

(college) dropout = someone who started college, but never graduated (earned a degree)

revamp = remake, restore, renew

treadmill = an exercise machine you walk or run on

initiative = a new plan for dealing with a problem

opt out of = to choose not to do (or participate in) something


Featured image: www.forbes.com


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