The last few decades have seen a considerable number of women entering the previously male-centric world of business. Bringing in a thundering amount of passion into the field of entrepreneurship and commerce, women have helped mankind prosper to a different level altogether. Here are 5 eminent personalities who have left a mark on the global economy.
1. Arianna Huffington (Co-founder and former Editor-in-chief, The Huffington Post)
Anybody acquainted with reading news online has surely heard of The Huffington Post. The story of one of the minds behind this news and opinion website is a triumphant one.
Arianna Huffington was born as Ariadnē-Anna Stasinopoúlou in Athens, Greece. The journey of her life, from being a mere 16-year old girl who moved to London, to becoming the dynamic businesswoman that she is today, is extraordinary.
Huffington got an economics degree from the University of Cambridge and in her youth, travelled around the world, visiting music festivals and writing books. She moved to New York in 1980 and wrote extensively for National Review, an American semi-monthly magazine.
Along with her writing team of Politically Incorrect, Arianna was even nominated for an Emmy award in 1997. In 2005, she established Huffington Post, now rebranded to HuffPost, with 4 other co-founders. Since then, Huffington has continued to write and publish multiple self-help books, her latest one being “The Sleep Revolution”.
2. Weili Dai (Director, Co-founder and former President, Marvell Technology Group)
Weili Dai spent the first 17 years of her life in China before she moved to the US to get a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of California. Dai temporarily worked at Bell Labs, post that, before joining the Canon Research Centre America Inc.
She founded the Marvell Technology, a producer of storage, communications and consumer semiconductor products, in 1955 alongside her husband and few others. Before being appointed as the President, she worked as a Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President, Director and Corporate Secretary of the Board.
Weili is also very passionate about women empowerment and believes women are the future of technology. According to her, it’s a woman’s natural talent to design and a woman can efficiently fit fashionable and user-friendly solutions into our lifestyles.
3. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Chairperson and MD, Biocon Limited; Chairperson, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore)
Kiran was born in Bangalore, India and studied biology and zoology at Bangalore University. She wanted to study medicine further but couldn’t do so because she was unable to get a scholarship. After her father suggested she study fermentation science, she travelled to Australia to get a degree in Malting and Brewing from Federation University.
Before she could move back to her country, she was offered a job by the founder of Biocon Biochemicals Limited, Leslie Auchincloss. The company wanted help from an Indian entrepreneur to establish a subsidiary. After her brief tenure with Biocon, she wanted to have a joint venture with them.
Thus, she returned to India and started off in the garage of her rented house with only ₹10,000. Struggling past her funding and recruitment issues, she gradually turned an industry which manufactured enzymes to an integrated bio-pharmaceutical company which focused on diseases such as diabetes and cancer. The Biocon foundation is also involved in several other health, education and infrastructure programs, mostly in rural areas of Karnataka.
Despite facing several challenges, Kiran helped create a business empire and is India’s richest self-made woman. Forbes listed Kiran in 2015, 2016 and 2017 as one of the most powerful women in the world at 85th, 77th and 71st position respectively.
4. Cher Wang (Co-founder and Chairperson, HTC Corporation)
Cher, Taiwanese by birth, studied in California and got her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California. Immediately after getting her degree, she joined First International Computer (FIC).
A few years later, along with others she founded VIA technologies Inc., which is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of motherboard chipsets.
Not long after that, she found HTC, a renowned consumer electronics company. HTC went on to produce some of the first touch and wireless hand-held devices in the world.
She took over the role of CEO in 2015 and two years later, the company made a US$1.1 billion cooperation agreement with Google. Wang also donated a grand total of US$28 million to the Guizhou Forerunner College that provides education to students who can’t afford it. As of 2014, she is listed as the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
5. Sudha Murthy (Chairperson, Infosys Foundation and philanthropist)
One would run short of words to describe the works and achievements of Mrs. Murthy. Born in Karnataka, she got a B.E. degree in Electrical Engineering from B.V.B College of Engineering & Technology and M.E. in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Science.
Murthy happened to be the first female employee recruited at TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO). She worked in Pune, Mumbai and Jamshedpur as a Development Engineer.
In 1996, she started Infosys foundation, a non-profit branch the Indian multinational corporation, Infosys.
Other than this, she has authored quite a number of books. Some of her significant works are, “Wise & Otherwise”, “Dollar Bahu” and “How I taught my Grandmother to read and other stories”.
Murthy’s social work knows no bounds. So far, she has set 50,000 libraries in India. She is trying to help India starting at the grassroot level by building public toilets. Mrs. Murthy has also built thousands of houses to help victims of natural disasters in Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
One can clearly see that it is the passion, determination and hard work that has driven these female powerhouses to succeed in their respective fields. As Diane Mariechild rightly put, “A woman is the full circle. Within her, is the power to create, nurture and transform”.