"Time 100" Names 31 Powerful Women

Where can you find Bill Clinton mingling with Lady Gaga? (Digitally, anyhow). On the cover of Time's annual list of the 100 most influential people, of course. And where can you find 31 very important women? Same place.

In a world where men still hold the majority of power as it's traditionally construed, a list of powerful people likely can't be half female without being a work of fantasy. But a list of influential people, like Time's, can consider a reality where influence is broadly construed, beyond the famous and the office-holding, which obviously includes the contributions of women. And, I'm happy to say, this year it seems to have done its best to do so.

Lists like this matter beyond just the media grind or the simple count. They can be self-enforcing, codifying positions of influence, not to mention provide prime schmoozing opportunities with the at the glittery party that comes with this list and a calling card for people who aren't say, Ashton Kutcher. People like Chen Shu-Chu, as described by Ang Lee:

A seller of vegetables in a stall in Taitung County's central market, in southern Taiwan. Out of her modest living, Chen, 59, has managed to donate nearly NT$10 million (that's $320,000) to various causes, including $32,000 for a children's fund, $144,000 to help build a library at a school she attended and another $32,000 for the local orphanage, where she also gives financial support to three children.

If Time, with all its access, is comfortable with extending the influential label to people like Chen as well as Barack Obama and Glenn Beck, it's pretty good for women's representation, as paltry a number as less than one third is.

Chen is in the "Heroes" category, which has the best representation of women (10 out of 25). Six of the "Leaders" are women, one of them a tea partier and the other a nun who fought for health care and is praised by Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Teddy's widow. Oddly, there are only 7 women (also out of 25) in the "Artists" category. But that might just be because it's not just actors and singers, and the behind the scenes of the entertainment industry looks not that different from the one in politics.

By the way, we also have Betty White on Sandra Bullock: "Well, she happens to be a bit beautiful, I'll grant, and a bit built, but the human being inside all that gorgeousness is just a delight."

Here's the full breakdown of women on the list:

LEADERS (6 women, 19 men)
1) Nancy Pelosi
2) Sarah Palin
3) Annise Parker
4) Jenny Beth Martin
5) Christine Lagarde
6) Sister Carol Keehan

HEROES (10 women, 15 men)
1) Kim Yu-Na
2) Temple Grandin
3) Chen Shu-chu
4) Graca Machel
5) Reem al Numery
6) Liya Kebede
7) Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
8)Zahra Rahnavard
9) Serena Williams
10) Malalai Joya

ARTISTS (7 women, 18 men)
1)Lady Gaga
2)Kathryn Bigelow
3) Oprah
4) Suzanne Collins
5) Taylor Swift
6) Lea Michele
7) Sandra Bullock

THINKERS (8 women, 17 men)
1) Zaha Hadid
2)Elizabeth Warren
3)Deborah Gist
4)Kathleen Merrigan
5) Lisa Jackson
6) Edna Foa
7) Amy Smith
8) Sonia Sotomayor

Time's 100 Most Influential [Time]