My question would be that of why women like say Megan Rapinoe, the American soccer superstar who led the U.S. team to victory in the women's world cup last year and has accrued many other notable athletic achievements, or say Jacinda Ardern, the popular and successful prime minister of New Zealand, didn't make this list. Two male soccer players made the men's list; why not Megan Rapinoe for the women? It's not as though there just aren't any star female athletes in the world. Likewise, why do three first wives make the women's list, but not someone like Jacinda Ardern? Also, why so many dictators rather than democratic leaders on the men's list? It's not like there's a shortage to choose from!
Well, just some brief thoughts about what a more equal world might value in women and men in my view.
Because women who watch football tend to be much more interested in the male version of the sport.
I think your idea of an equal world is flawed, because equality doesn't mean to have the same amount of male and female football players on a couple of lists, but rather that both men and women are allowed to vote for the people who they like the most.
Also, I'd hope that you read the methodology of the survey. The first round of it was that each of the 42 participating countries nominated people; the 20 most popular choices that were nominated in at least four countries made the cut, so your Rapinoe example might not even have got recognition in four different countries whereas Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are both global superstars with all their games being broadcasted almost everywhere on the planet. The second round of the survey asked people to give their opinion on the 20 finalists of each list; one vote for who they admire (multiple choices possible) and one vote for who they admire the most (single choice, obviously). All points added up led to the final rankings.
Ardern being from New Zealand greatly limits her chances to be internationally recognized. The reason why autocratic leaders have international appeal is that there are people in every country who'd like to see someone rule with an iron fist to push through the values they hold.