• Angela Merkel, German Chancellor
    1: Angela MerkelReuters
  • Dilma Rousseff
    Brazil"s President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a meeting of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia February 6, 2013.Reuters
  • Sonia Gandhi
    Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi smiles as she addresses the media at her residence in New Delhi.Reuters
  • 4: Christine Lagarde
    4: Christine LagardeReuters
  • South Korea holds biggest military parade in a decade
    South Korean President Park Geun-Hye waves as she inspects troops during a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of South Korea's Armed Forces at an air base in SeongnamReuters
  • Virginia Rometty, IBM
    Virginia Rometty, IBMReuters
  • 7: Margaret Chan, WHO
    7: Margaret ChanWiki Commons
  • 8: Jill Abramson
    8: Jill AbramsonWiki Commons
  • 9: Janet Yellen
    9: Janet YellenReuters
  • Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
    Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCoREUTERS

Out of the 72 most powerful people in the world, only 12 percent are women. Some are head of states; some are influential CEOs and financiers. 

This year's snapshot of the most powerful personalities showcase those that go beyond the conventional taxonomy of the power elite and are able to shift the very idea of authority in fresh and exhilarating ways.

Here are the 10 most powerful women on Earth

1: Angela Merkel

The German Chancellor has made it to the top most powerful women list eight times in the past ten years and seven times as no. 1. However, she dropped on the combined list of Most Powerful People in the World list to the fifth spot this year from being no. 2.

She is the first woman in her country to become the Chancellor of Germany in 2005. Merkel retained as the head of state after her re-election in September this year.

2: Dilma Rousseff

President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff has retained the second spot of most powerful woman on the planet. Not only will her country host the World Cup in 2014 but also the Olympic Games in 2016.

Brazil is currently the seventh largest country on the basis of its national economy with a GDP of nearly $2.4 trillion.

3: Sonia Gandhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has made her presence felt in list of most influential women since 2004. This year she was ranked higher than her country's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Most Powerful People in the World list by Forbes.

Despite Singh commanding the second largest populated country - India - as its head of state, Gandhi is said to be behind every major political and administrative decision in the Central government. Rumors are rife that there is a growing rift between her and Singh with many expecting the PM to resign from the office before the 2014 general elections.

4: Christine Lagarde

She became the first female in June 2011 to lead the 188- state financial organisation of International Monetary Fund. After Merkel, Lagarde is the second important woman to counter the European sovereign debt crisis.

"French-born Lagarde was a labor and antitrust attorney in the U.S. before a six-year stint as French finance minister; rumor has it she may make a run for the French presidency," Forbes said.

5: Guen Hye Park

Guen Hye Park is one of the newcomers in the list of Most Powerful Women in the World. She is the first female President of South Korea and is currently enjoying her second term. South Korea has world's 15th largest GDP at $1.15 trillion.

In a survey by Korean Research, last year, Park was considered the most conservative candidate for the presidential race.

6: Virginia Rometty

Rometty is the CEO of IBM, world's biggest computer company by revenue. IBM generates $104.5 billion annually. The company recorded a $16.6 billion profit in 2012.

7: Margaret Chan

Chan is among the newcomers in the top 10 list of most influential women. She heads the World Health Organisation; she is currently enjoying her second term. She is the only person with the authority to call a 'worldwide pandemic', which makes her the most powerful person in global public health.

8: Jill Abramson

She is the executive editor of one of the most popular newspapers in the world - The New York Times. She has been enjoying the post since past two years now.

Her staff won four Pulitzer Prizes this year 'but the paper couldn't compete with the UK's Guardian for exclusives from whistleblower Edward Snowden'.

9: Janet Yellen

Yellen was specifically handpicked by US President Barack Obama for the spot of Vice President at the US Federal Reserve in 2010. She is likely to take the top spot after current Chairman Ben Bernanke steps down in 2014.

If she gets confirmed by the Senate, Yellen will become the first woman to head a major central bank.

10: Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, retains the tenth spot in the list of Most Powerful Women in the World. However, she couldn't make it to the list of 72 Most Powerful People in the World this year.

Nooyi has been successful in boosting quarterly results - revenue jumped 1.2 percent to $13 billion - with higher prices and sales of the Pepsico snacks like Doritos and Cheetos.