• Spain's news in English
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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Halloween weekend: Sunny skies and nightmare traffic
Authorities expect 5.5 million cars to take to the road over the 'puente'. Archive photo: AFP

Spain is set for great weather over the long weekend. But be prepared for nightmare traffic.

Southern Spain will become a desert with global warming
Photo: Steven Stralton / Flickr

Southern Spain will become a desert if global warning continues, scientists have warned.

Eight Spanish films to truely terrify you this Halloween
Photo: Corie Howell / Flickr Creative Commons.

Looking for something to give you goosebumps this Halloween? The Local looks at eight Spanish films that are sure to have you cowering beneath the covers.

Spain's Socialists refuse to go easy on Rajoy once in power
Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists may have reluctantly decided to let Mariano Rajoy govern again but they will not go easy on the acting conservative premier once he re-takes power, they warned on Thursday.

Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available