International Women’s Day is a global event which celebrates every aspect of women’s achievements, whether that’s social, economic, cultural or political.
This gives us the best opportunity to reflect on some of the world’s most determined and successful female business leaders.
While we could share statistics that bring light to the still present gender disparities in the business world, we would rather focus on and elevate personalities who we think have made huge leaps in their respective industries in the 21st century. So, in this article, we have compiled some of the top female leaders in business, ranging from technology to cooking.
Cher Wang - Co-founder of HTC & VIA Technologies
The first of the many remarkable women that will be mentioned in this article is Cher Wang. She is one of the co-founders of HTC, a well-established mobile technology firm. During her career, Cher has done extremely well, rightly leading her to become one of the most successful and well-known female entrepreneurs. She has established several successful IT-related businesses, including VIA technologies in 1978, and her co-founding of HTC corporation in 1997.
In 2012, Cher was included on Forbes’ list of most powerful women, a testimony to both her huge role and influence in the tech world. Her business HTC has now become a major competitor in the mobile technology industry, facing big brands such as Apple, Samsung, and Sony, proving the huge success Cher Wang has enjoyed.
Sara Blakely - Founder of Spanx
Sara Blakely is the founder of the multi-million-dollar undergarment company, Spanx. Sara is one of the most famous female entrepreneurs and with good reason, due to her perseverance. Her idea was rejected numerous times by potential investors, and she had to overcome several obstacles in order to get the company to where it is today. In 2012, Sara became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, and now has a net worth of $1.1 billion. Money is not always the defining mark of achievement, but in this case, it is a just reward for her determination.
Nisha Katona - Co-founder of Mowgli and founder of Mowgli Trust Charity
Nisha Katona is the impressive business owner of a street food restaurant chain, ‘Mowgli’, founded in 2014. Since then, she has built on this brand and now has 18 sites across the UK, making it a national success. According to The Sunday Times, the chain is recognised as one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies. On top of this, not only is Nisha the CEO of Mowgli, but she is also the executive and development chef of the restaurant. Beyond this, she is the founder of the Mowgli Trust Charity and the author of four cookbooks.
June Angelides - Founder of Mums in Tech
Whilst on maternity leave for her second child, June Angelides founded Mums in Tech, the first child-friendly coding school in the UK. Even more impressively, she is also one of the only black women in Venture Capital, and a strong advocate for women’s rights, with particular care for working mothers. In October 2020, June was awarded an MBE for her services to women in technology. On top of all these commitments, June is a mentor at Oxford University and runs mentoring circles for founders and aspiring venture capitalists. In 2018, June was named the 6th most influential BAME tech leader by the Financial Times and the 15th most influential woman by Computer Weekly.
Mary Barra - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Company
Mary Barra is the first female CEO of a major global automaker and has been named by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s most powerful women in business. If that wasn’t enough, she was also mentioned in the list of “the 100 most influential people in the world”. Mary has served as CEO of General Motors since January 2014 and was elected Chairman of the General Motors Board of Directors in 2016. On all fronts, she is a groundbreaker and someone who proves that women can succeed in even the most male-dominated industries, such as STEM.
Sara Davies - Founder of Crafters Companion and TV Personality
When Sara Davies was a student at the University of York, she became the founder of Crafters Companion, a crafter’s supply company. A quick success, it had turned over £500,000 by her graduation. It is now a leading global retailer headquartered in the Northeast of England, employing over 200 people across the world and shipping to over 40 countries worldwide. In 2016, Sara was awarded an MBE for her services to the economy to add to her pile of awards for her entrepreneurship. She has also had her fair share of roles in television programs, the biggest being Dragons Den. Remarkably, when she joined Dragons Den in 2019, she was the youngest entrepreneur to join the programme. Apart from her impressive TV and business work, Sara is also an advocate of women in business, providing support and guidance to up-and-coming businesswomen as part of her mentoring role with the Entrepreneurs’ Forum.
Ella Woodward - Founder of Deliciously Ella
Ella is the founder of a plant-based food and wellness platform called Deliciously Ella; an idea born out of her diagnosis with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome in 2012. Starting off as a blog documenting her change in lifestyle, the brand Deliciously Ella has now evolved into a restaurant and offers a range of plant-based food products, an app, a collection of bestselling recipe books as well as a podcast.
Tory Burch - Founder of fashion company Tory Burch
In 2004, Tory founded her own fashion business in New York City with the purpose to empower women and women entrepreneurs. In 2009, Tory established the Tory Burch Foundation to advance women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship by providing access to funds, education and digital resources. In 2014, Tory wrote her first book ‘Tory Burch in Colour’, which surely became a New York Times bestseller.
This article has hopefully enlightened you about some of the most brilliant businesswomen in the world, each one having a huge influence over their industries.
However, this list is unable to show you all the women out there who are changing the narrative in the business world. There are thousands of innovative and determined women who could have their names on this list.
Happy International Women’s Day!