Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has been named as one of the most powerful women in the world.

Ms Clark, who is campaigning to be the United Nations' Secretary-General, is featured in Forbes magazine's latest The World's 100 Most Powerful Women list.

She sits on the number 22 spot.

The publication describes her as being "the most powerful woman in the United Nations and the first UNDP female head".

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"Helen Clark uses her global bully pulpit and billions in funds to assist development and humanitarian efforts around the world.

"This year she finds herself among eight candidates vying for an even higher post: UN Secretary-General."

The magazine acknowledges that the former New Zealand Prime Minister has been credited for bringing greater efficiency to her agency and is considered "a front-runner" for the Secretary-General role.

Other powerful women named on the list include US First Lady Michelle Obama, at number 13, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, at number 2, and talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey, who features at number 21, just before Ms Clark.

The most powerful woman in the world, as named by Forbes, is German Chancellor Angela Merkel.