Helen Clark Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

Helen Clark has remained a fixture on Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Powerful Women since her election as Prime Minister of her native New Zealand in 1999, coming in at 21 this year. She had already served as a member of Parliament for 18 years before being elected an impressive three times as Prime Minister, serving for nine years. Her time as Prime Minister was marked by significant economic growth, low levels of unemployment, and high levels of investment in education and health, and in the well-being of families and older citizens. In 2009, she became the first woman to head the UN Development Program (UNDP) and is responsible for leading the UN’s development activities in over 170 countries worldwide. Since assuming this position, she has been a tireless advocate for women’s empowerment, particularly in the poorest countries, meeting with groups of influential women in each and every country she visits to ensure their voices and needs are heard.

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