• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3
The Local list
Are these Spain's ten most powerful women?
Spain's Queen Letizia. Photo: AFP

Are these Spain's ten most powerful women?

Jessica Jones · 8 Mar 2016, 11:12

Published: 08 Mar 2016 11:12 GMT+01:00

Ana Botin


Photo: Junta Informa/Wikimedia

Botín, the chair of Spanish banking giant Santander, is the 18th most powerful woman in the world, according to Forbes. Botín took over Santander the day after the death of her father, Emilio Botín, in September 2014 becoming the first woman to lead a major European bank.

In December she was appointed an honorary Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE), by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for services to the British financial services sector.

Ada Colau 


Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

Ada Colau has risen from an anti-austerity activist to mayor of Barcelona in a shock win in municipal elections last May. She is the first female mayor of Barcelona and has quickly become the most high profile of Spain’s new 'indignada' politicians. Opponents have branded her a "dangerous radical" but the people have spoken: more than 176,000 people voted for her.

Edurne Pasaban 


Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP

In 2010, Spanish mountain climber Edurne Pasaban became the first woman to climb all 14 mountains above 8000m in the world.

Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría 

Saenz de Santamaria became one of the most powerful female Spanish politicians of all time when she was made Deputy Prime Minister in 2011, the number two to Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. She was handed powerful responsibilities, including overseeing Spain’s intelligence agency, an area previously under the remit of the Ministry of Defence. And she is tipped to be the next leader of the conservative Popular Party.All that power does not stop her from letting her hair down and having a dance now and again, however. (See video, above). 

Isabel Coixet 


Photo: Tobias Schwarz/AFP

Coixet, 55, is one of the most famous contemporary Spanish film directors and has enjoyed an international career, making both Spanish and English-language films. Her most famous films include My Life Without Me (2003), set in Canada, which won a Goya award for best screenplay. She has directed some of the world’s greatest actors, including Ben Kingsley, Juliette Binoche, Dennis Hopper and Penelope Cruz.

Mireia Belmonte 


Photo: Kazuhiro Hogi/AFP

Belmonte is one of the most successful modern Spanish sportswomen, currently holding five world records including for 200m butterfly. She won two silver medals at the London 2012 Olympics.

Sandra Ortega Mera


Photo: AFP

The notoriously publicity shy Sandra Ortega Mera is a Spanish billionaire and heir to her father’s company Inditex, the biggest fashion group in the world, which includes brands such as Zara and Massimo Dutti. She is currently the second richest person in Spain (after her father, who is the richest). 

Queen Letizia 


Photo: Royal Palace/Twitter

Letizia Ortiz, a divorced television journalist, married Spain’s then Prince Felipe in 2004, and was catapulted from a mere commoner to one of the most famous women in the world, gracing the fashion pages of gossip magazines across the globe. Her fame rose even further when, in 2014, she became Queen of Spain, when her husband ascended to the throne after the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos. 

Tamara Rojo

Story continues below…


Tamara Rojo (centre). Photo: Carl Court/AFP

Spanish ballet dancer Tamara Rojo is currently artistic director of the English National Ballet having enjoyed an international career as one of the most celebrated ballet dancers in the world. She was previously principal dancer of The Royal Ballet and continues to perform in guest roles.

Penelope Cruz


Photo: AFP

Perhaps the most recognizable Spaniard in the world, Penelope Cruz is the most internationally successful Spanish actress of all time. She was the first Spaniard ever to be nominated for a best acting Oscar for her role in Volver (2006) and became the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) in which she teamed up with fellow Spanish Oscar winning actor (and now her husband) Javier Bardem.

Margarita Salas


Photo: Lefty4ever/Wikimedia

Margarita Salas is one of the most famous Spanish scientists in the world, renowned for her work in the fields of Biochemistry and Molecular genetics. She is a member of the Royal Spanish Society as well as American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has even been elevated to Spanish nobility for her contribution to science – her official title as of 2008 is Margarita Salas, 1st Marquise of Canero.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The good, bad and the ugly of long distance relationships
Are their advantages to loving from afar? Photo: MsSaraKelly / Flickr

Dating guru Sally Fazakerley gives us the lowdown on what it is really like to endure a long-distance relationship.

Thousands hunt Pokémon Go in Madrid to break record
Pokémon fans gather in Madrid's Puerta del Sol. Photo: AFP

It may only have been officially launched in Spain two weeks ago but already Pokémon Go already has so many fans here that Madrid set a world record.

Manhunt in Spain for abductor of teenager in Britain
Have you seen this couple? Photo: Metropolitan Police

A European Arrest Warrant has been issued for a Romanian 27-year-old accused of abducting a teenage girl from East London.

Barcelona unveils 'shame counter' of refugee deaths
Not just a number. Photo: AFP

The counter will update with each refugee victim who drowns at sea.

Spain's King Felipe VI tasks Rajoy with forming new govt
Rajoy in parliament last week. Photo: AFP

Can Rajoy do it or will there be third elections in Spain?

The Local list
Ten great reasons to discover the real Malaga right now
Malaga's modern port. Photo: Nick Kenrick/Flickr

Don't just fly into the airport and head straight for a beach resort. Here is why Malaga is now a destination in its own right.

Summer jobs bring Spanish unemployment to six-year low
Spain's tourism boom creates summer jobs. Photo: AFP

Spain's jobless rate slipped to 20 percent in the second quarter of 2016, as the tourism boom provided much needed seasonal work.

Weather
Heatwave continues and then Spain's set for sand storms
Keeping cool in a Madrid fountain. Photo: AFP

Across Spain, 22 provinces are on alert for extreme heat as temperatures soar to above 42 C.

Spanish parents fight for right to name their son 'Wolf'
Is wolf a suitable name for a boy? Photo: AFP

New parents Ignacio and Maria are furious after being told that "Lobo" - meaning Wolf – was not an appropriate name for their newborn son.

Stolen Dali masterpiece recovered from criminal gang
Dali's Adolescence was recovered in Holland. Arthur Brand / Twitter

A Dali masterpiece stolen seven years ago from a museum in the Netherlands has been recovered by an art detective.

National
7 reasons why grandparents in Spain are simply the best
Travel
Barcelona bans Segways from tourist clogged waterfront
National
Spain pays €300m each year in pensions… to dead people
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Police issue guidelines as Pokémon craze sweeps Spain
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Another dodgy art restoration raises alarm in Spain
National
Watch: Man in wheelchair zooms past Barcelona traffic
National
Woof! How to find dog-friendly beaches in Spain
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Tourist sparks bomb scare by locking suitcase to park bench
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Technology
Five brilliant apps to help improve your Spanish
National
Top ten tricks to survive the Spanish summer
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Off the beaten track: 14 best kept travel secrets in Spain
International
Keep calm and wait and see: Advice for expats post-Brexit
Features
Top 10 Spanish treats to keep you cool in summer
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
'I've had best time ever' insists American gored in bull run
Health
How to avoid heatstroke when Spain starts to sizzle
International
Champion of expat property rights in Spain awarded gong
National
Scorchio! Heat warnings issued across Spain
National
Brits demand dual citizenship for expats in Spain post Brexit
Sport
Spanish matador gored to death in the ring
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Lifestyle
Eleven types of men you might typically date in Spain
National
Spanish police rescue British teen trapped by dad in house for two years
Features
Seven burning questions for British expats about Brexit
Technology
Six free apps to simplify your summer in Spain
3,276
jobs available