Time magazine is inviting readers to cast votes for its annual roster of the 100 most influential people in the world. Nominated by the magazine’s editors from a universe of international “leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes,” Time has selected more than 200 prominent contenders from Adele to Zuckerberg.
But only 25 percent of these icons are women. I’m not sure what it says about Time readers that Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul is third on the reader poll, but only one woman – the popular Grammy-winning British singer Adele, who is barely out of her teens – is in the top 10.
The balladeer currently ranks 10th, followed immediately by media-shy American singer Lady Gaga at 11th, with Myanmar martyr-turned-parliamentary-lightning-rod Aung Sun Suu Kyi coming in 12th. In case you think this support for the Burmese democracy advocate demonstrates a respect for genuine heroic leadership, the next female candidate, at 17th, is “super cute” Zooey Deschanel, where the “New Girl” star ranks just ahead of Barack Obama.
Not only has the magazine identified approximately three times as many “influential” men from which to choose as it has women, but the list of women who were included is skewed, with singers and actors overrepresented.
These are the women who made the short list:
●Actors: Vidya Balan, Jessica Chastain, Claire Danes, Viola Davis, Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks and January Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Tilda Swinton, Kristen Wiig, Meryl Streep, Maggie Smith, Chelsea Handler and Zooey Deschanel
●World leaders: Hillary Clinton, Marine Le Pen, Angela Merkel, Queen Elizabeth II, Christine Lagarde, Portia Simpson-Miller, Aung San Suu Kyi, U.N. Human Rights commissioner Navi Pillay and Nobel laureate and democracy advocate Tawakul Karman
For those who favor occupational diversity, the magazine also nominated one woman each in the following categories:
First lady: Michelle Obama; Arizona governor: Jan Brewer; California attorney general: Kamala Harris; Psychologist and autism expert: Karen Pierce; International claims attorney: Almudena Bernabeu; Kidnap victim: Jaycee Dugard; Athlete: Hope Solo; British duchess and future queen: Kate Middleton, and also her sister, Pippa Middleton.
Final ranking for this important compendium will be chosen by Time editors, not readers, but the people’s choice poll winner will be included in the April 17 annual “Time 100” issue.
D.C. writer Bonnie Goldstein has no influence, but you can follow her on Twitter at @KickedByAnAngel.