Meet the Aussies on Forbes ‘Most Powerful Women’ list for 2023


Forbes has unveiled its annual list of the world’s most powerful women, featuring celebrities like Beyoncé and politicians like Kamala Harris. Meet the four Australians who made the cut.
Gina Rinehart is one of four Aussies that made Forbes’ Most Powerful Women list. Image source: Getty Images

The Most Powerful Women list analyses and ranks women based on four metrics: money, media, impact and spheres of influence. For corporate chiefs, Forbes says revenue, valuations and employee counts were critical, and media mentions and social reach were analysed for all.

“We’re not far enough there anywhere in the world yet,” billionaire philanthropist Melinda French Gates told Forbes. “It’s when you get women far enough into seats of power in multiple places in the world that things start to change.” You can read the full list here.

As for the Australians that made the list, it comes as no surprise that 69-year-old billionaire and Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart, makes the cut. Three other powerful Aussies made the list, too.

Gina Rinehart, #48

Pictured above, Rinehart has an estimated net worth of US$26.9 billion (AU$41.06 billion). Rinehart is the daughter of late iron-ore explorer Lang Hancock, and she rebuilt her father’s financially distressed company Hancock Prospecting, becoming executive chairwoman in 1992.

She’s also Australia’s second-largest cattle producer, and she’s made significant investments into rare earth.

Shemara Wikramanayake, #52

Wikramanayake was born in the UK, and raised between there and Sri Lanka before immigrating to Australia when she was 13. She joined Macquarie Group in 1987, and was appointed to CEO and managing director in 2018. It was estimated her salary was $16 million in 2021 and $23.7 million in 2022.

Robyn Denholm, #80
SHANGHAI, Nov. 5, 2019 — Robyn M. Denholm, Tesla’s chair of the board, attends the parallel session “Artificial Intelligence and Innovative Development” of the second Hongqiao International Economic Forum in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 5, 2019. (Photo by Yin Gang/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Denholm joined Tesla’s board as an independent director in 2014, and in 2018, took over from Elon Musk as chair. She’s also the operating partner of venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures, and the chair of the Technology Council of Australia.

Her family office also holds a 30% stake in the owner of men’s basketball team Sydney Kings.

Melanie Perkins, #89
LISBON , PORTUGAL – 5 November 2019; Melanie Perkins, Co-founder & CEO, Canva, on Centre Stage during the opening day of Web Summit 2019 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images)

Perkins is the CEO and co-founder of design software giant Canva. She owns an 18% stake in the business, and her personal net worth is estimated to be US$3.6 billion.

Look back on the week that was with hand-picked articles from Australia and around the world. Sign up to the Forbes Australia newsletter here or become a member here.

More from Forbes Australia