Women don’t just make up the vast majority of the labor force – increasingly, women are entering the world of business, building their own empires, and, in many cases, their own fortunes. There are more female millionaires and billionaires than ever before. One hundred and sixty-seven female billionaires can be found worldwide, with 2016 marking a record-breaking year for the number of female billionaires created.
While many female billionaires inherited their wealth, a good many are self-made and have risen to fame and fortune by their own efforts. If you are among women in business, these five inspiring women show that total financial security is not out of reach.
Jacqueline Mars is a majority shareholder in Mars. Inc, begun by her grandfather in 1911. While Mars principally produced candy for many years, Jacqueline helped to diversify the company’s holdings, and it now owns a variety of brands ranging from boxed dinner items to pet food. Ms. Mars sat on the board of Mars for sixteen years after her retirement from an active role within the company, and is today one of the richest women in the United States and the world.
Zhou Qunfei’s story is truly one of rags to riches. Having grown up in poverty in rural China, she persevered in her career and went on to found Lens Technology, the largest company in the world producing glass covers for smartphones and other touchscreen devices. Ms. Qunfei launched into billionaire status when the Hong Kong-based company went public in 2015. She is the company’s CEO and majority shareholder with an eighty-one percent stake. Lens Technology’s clients are among some of the biggest electronics producers in the world, and include Samsung and Apple, Inc.
Savitri Jindal is the chair of the O.P. Jindal Group, which owns a variety of companies including her son’s company JSW Steel. While the family saw its fortunes decline last year, the group’s net worth quickly recovered as the market price of steel recovered from economic downturn. Savitri Jindal personally oversees most of the owned company’s functions and business transactions, and is to date one of the wealthiest women in Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
Another rags to riches billionaire, Oprah Winfrey survived a traumatic childhood to become one of the world’s most celebrated television talk show host, actresses, and philanthropists. While she is best know for her long-running television show, Ms. Winfrey has also appeared in several high-profile films, such as “A Wrinkle In Time” and “The Color Purple.” She has turned her energetic skills and talents to the pursuit of journalism and film-making, and is a contributor to the long-running journalistic television show “60 Minutes.”
Pollyanna Chu launched her own financial services firm after declining to enter the family hotel and casino business in 1992. One of the richest women in China and on the entire continent of Asia, Ms. Chu has been named to the Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful Women, and owns sixty-three percent of Kingston Financial Group – one of the most powerful and high-profile financial firms in Asia and the world.
Each of these women reached their fortune with determination, hard work, and smart decision-making. Their success proves that, with the right tools and excellent work ethic, greater numbers of women in business can reach this privileged status – and whether they start out as a nurse practitioner, a student, a waitress or a single mother, financial success is within reach.