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The 10 Richest Self-Made Female Entrepreneurs in the World

People

Approximately 1810 billionaires roam the Earth with a combined net worth of $6.48 trillion, per Forbes’ annual billionaire roundup. You could probably name a handful of those billionaires off the top of your head without looking at the list. Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffett are all easy guesses. What’s less easy to do, however, is to name female billionaires from that list. That’s partly because of those 1810 billionaires, only about 190 are women.


Interestingly, of those 190 women, 33 are entrepreneurs who built their cash stash via their own business ventures. With some help from Market Inspector, we’re recognizing the 10 richest.

1

Zhou Qunfei, Lens Technology, $7.1 billion

Meet China's richest woman. She was born in 1970 and literally worked her way up from the very bottom. She went from sweeping factory floors to founding Lens Technology, one of the leading manufacturers of smart phone touch screens.

2

Chan Laiwa, Fuwah International Group, $5.5 billion

Also from China, Chan Laiwa is the founder of one of Beijing’s most successful commercial property development companies. She was born into royalty in 1941, but still built her business from scratch.

3

Pollyanna Chu, Kingston Financial, $4.7 billion

Pollyanna Chu oversees Kingston Financial, one of the most successful home-grown brokerages in Hong Kong. She’s also an executive at Golden Resorts Group and Sincere Watch, and was born in 1958.

4

Diane Hendricks, ABC Supply, $4.3 billion

Hendricks, born in 1947, is from Wisconsin and serves multiple roles: businesswoman, philanthropist and film producer. Her primary business venture is ABC Supply, a roofing supply company.

5

Wu Yajun, Longfor Properties, $3.7 billion

Wu Yajun is another Chinese businesswoman on this list, and is the co-founder and former CEO of Longfor Properties, a real estate development company. She was born in 1964.

6

Denise Coates, Bet365, $3.4 billion

Denise Coates is the richest woman in Britain and considered England’s leading businesswoman. She was born in 1967 and is the founder of Bet365, an online gambling company.

7

Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Winfrey Network, $2.9 billion

Perhaps the most familiar name on this list, Oprah Winfrey, born in 1954, is best known for her work on her eponymous talk show. She’s since retired as a host and is now the owner of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

8

Lam Wai Ying, Biel Crystal Manufactory, $2.9 billion

Biel Crystal Manufactory is a touchscreen manufacturer that provides screens for Apple devices. The company was founded by Lam and her husband, Yeung Kin-man.

9

Giuliana Benetton, Benetton Group, $2.6 billion

Born in Italy in 1937, Giuliana Benetton is co-founder of Italian fashion brand Benetton Group, which has reached global acclaim with over 5000 stores worldwide.

10

Doris Fisher, Gap, $2.6 billion

You may be more familiar with The Gap itself than you are with the woman who founded it. Doris Fisher, born in 1931, established the brand in 1969 with her husband, Donald.

While money certainly isn’t the only indicator of success, it tends to be an accurate gauge for when an entrepreneur’s doing something right. Mad props to these 10 women for kicking ass in the business sphere and inspiring countless others to follow in their footsteps.

Career

Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.


In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.


Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.