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President Rousseff who was third for two consecutive years climbed to second position after Hillary Clinton stepped down from her post as secretary of state.
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor tops the list this year.
The annual Forbes list includes influential women in global politics, business, media, entertainment, technology and non-profits – ranking them by “money, media presence and impact,” according to the business magazine.
Merkel and Rousseff were followed by Melinda Gates – who co-chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and US First Lady Michelle Obama and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton take places four and five.
Forbes underlines that President Rousseff with her emphasis on private enterprise has inspired a new generation of undertakings.
Rousseff who took office in January 2011 was in position 93 three years ago.
Another Brazilian figure is among the top-twenty list: Petrobras CEO Graças Silva Foster who sits in position 18, having climbed from 20 last year.