The word “feminist” and the act of feminism has long been associated with “bra burners”, “men haters” and various other negative connotations. To summarise, loudmouth women whose dream revolves around ridding the world of men entirely, to reproduce exactly when they want through their local friendly sperm bank and to control all of the top companies in the world. In reality, a feminist is a believer in equality. A person (whether a man, woman or child) striving for equal rights that will benefit everyone, not just the individuals who happen to be born sans one particular body part. After all, everyone begins life as a woman…
Actress Emma Watson has highlighted many of these connotations in the #HeForShe campaign, comedian Aziz Ansari went into a hilarious rant on David Letterman pronouncing he is a feminist, Hilary Clinton may run for presidency this year and the likes of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler ridiculed aging male actors and directors that dominate the film industry (there’s not one female director or writer nominated at this year’s Oscars). Feminism has finally become cool, a cause to shout about, and it was a long time coming.
However, women still must strive to be heard in the workplace. The pay gap is still too wide, women must consider quitting their careers entirely if they decide to have children whilst the male can have both, a large percentage have been sexually harassed whilst an even bigger percentage have felt discriminated in some way because of their gender.
Whilst women still face an uphill battle in terms of equality in life, least of all the workplace, these Forbes’ women in particular are making pioneering strides to be noticed for all the right reasons:
The CEO and chair of PepsiCo is no stranger to business; she has been on the Forbe’s Most Powerful Women list for eight years running. In the 50 best-selling food and beverage products, PepsiCo could name a whopping nine. Having returned $5.6 billion to shareholders, along with a revenue growth of 14% to $66 billion, Indra Nooyi is a business superstar and role model for both genders.
Having spent four years as Facebook COO, Sheryl was named to the board of directors in June last year. An impressive CV to say the least, computers are well and truly the future. If you need some advice and tutoring in computing, not to mention the mathematics and strategic skills of some of these inspirational women, you can learn.
Cars are just for men, right? Of course not, and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this if you thought as much. Mary became the auto industry’s first ever CEO in January last year at General Motors. One of her first tasks involved GM’s largest vehicle recall from a faulty ignition switch that has been linked to at least 13 deaths.
Diane Von Furstenberg
The fashion giant and creator of the wrap dress (the ultimate sexy/sensible clothing perfect for your business-minded self), Diane began designing in 1970 with $30,000. She is now the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the trade association of the country’s top 350 designers and helped launch Fordham Law’s Fashion Law Institute.
The woman behind some of your favourite TV dramas including Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and The Newsroom, Sue Naegle is the president of HBO Entertainment. A financial whizz, Naegle carefully balances a $100 million dollar budget.
Co-founder of one of the biggest news websites in the world, The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington is looking to expand into Europe having won the Pulitzer Prize last year.
In 2011, Ginni became the CEO of technology giant IBM, the first woman to ever be named in such a position within the technology sector. With over 30 years in the tech business, Virginia has generated over $100 billion in revenues.
Have you noticed Yahoo’s growing presence online? It certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed in the digital marketing sector. Leveraging on Yahoo’s strongest assets (not only their email but entertainment, sports and finance news), Marissa Mayer was named CEO of Yahoo in July 2014 having recently worked for Google.
Angela Ahrendts is the CEO of British fashion institution Burberry and the lady behind $2.9 billion revenue profit. Considering the brand suffered such a devastating identity crisis in recent years (especially in the UK), Angela’s work is nothing sort of astonishing. Burberry is now the largest apparel, accessories and luxury goods company in the UK.
These remarkable business women are walking proof that it is possible to manage large corporate businesses, and to manage them extremely well indeed. You’re never too old or too underqualified to take the plunge into the business world. Every year brings us a little closer to equality. Let makes 2015 the most successful year yet, for everyone.