Women have been building up their presence in the workplace since the beginning of time. Since the 50s, after the Women’s Rights Movement, the number of women in the workforce has risen from 18 million to 66 million in the early 2000s. This number is expected to keep rising to reach 90 million women in the workforce by 2050 according to the Monthly Labor Review in 2002. With this increase, there are many inspiring businesswomen from across the world who are in the workforce making a difference.
However, with an increased presence of women in the workforce, there has come a new set of problems. Not only has it been hard for women to obtain the same amount of respect, pay and promotional opportunities as the men they work alongside, it has also been difficult for women to reach the top of the corporate ladder to punch through that glass ceiling.
Women bring many advantages to the workplace and have revolutionized what it means to run a business. As outlined by the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Foundation (IWEC), women have shown a natural ability to lead in the world of business with mediation, communication, patience, planning, inspirational leadership, and so much more.
The most inspirational part about women in the workplace is how they’ve always beat the odds, broken the stereotypes, and have become the epitome of success all over the world.
I’ve created a list of just five inspirational women from around the world that are living examples of all of these things, and truly inspire us all to take on a world in which men have always maintained superiority.
1. Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei
First on the list of inspiring businesswomen is a 2-in-1 deal, Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei are co-founders of the company She Leads Africa, a social forum primarily focused on the empowerment of women in the field of entrepreneurship.
They can be found on a list of Africa’s leading female entrepreneurs, and have been, “working to break barriers while empowering young women all over Africa through their organization,” according to The Guardian.
Their enterprise has grown rapidly since 2014 and increasingly helps young, female entrepreneurs in their quest for success through what these co-founders defined as, “events and online content to give young African women the skills and resources that they need to achieve their professional goals,” in their interview with The Guardian.
The way these women have built an entire social enterprise upon their desire to uplift other women is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and other organizations such as LadyBossBlogger.com and ExecutiveBound.com follow suit while providing endless support and resources for young women around the world, including myself, to become the most successful entrepreneurs they can be.
2. Divine Ndhlukuka
Divine Ndhlukuka is one example of many women from Africa who have climbed up from the bottom of the corporate ladder to dominate in a male-majority industry.
Not only is her certified security company, Securico, one of the first in Zimbabwe, it also employs over 900 women with secure careers, making Ndhlukuka a leading female entrepreneur.
Ndhlukuka started her entrepreneurial training in 1995 and by 1998 had identified a need for better providers in the private security sector, as well as more stable employment opportunities for women in Zimbabwe.
So, Securico was established and now Divine Ndhlukuka is identified as one of Africa’s most successful women and “Queen of the Security Sector” by Lionesses of Africa.
Ndhlukuka is one of many inspiring businesswomen who motivates us all to identify everyday problems in our own lives and take the initiative to create the solution, not to wait for the solution to come.
3. Rachel De Villa
An inspiring businesswoman my fellow millennials is a success story from one of our very own, Rachel De Villa. As the founder of Cropital, De Villa is working to uplift local farmers in the Philippines and break their debt-cycle by creating a platform for which users can invest in the agriculture of the Philippines.
The agricultural market of the Philippines is one riddled with endless debt, farmers are integral to the workforce of the Philippines and yet are some of the most underpaid workers out there.
Often farmers in the Philippines are forced to take on loans with interest rates ranging from five to 20 percent. However, with Cropital, anyone from anywhere can invest in the livelihood and sustainability of these farmers through crop insurance, training, access to technological partners, and of course investments.
De Villa has made Prospect’s 2019 Top Ten Women Entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia and has an article on TechShake’s Founder Spotlight.
Using the tech-savvy trademark of most millennials, this 23-year-old web developer has revolutionized the lives of Philippine farmers throughout the country an inspiring breakout into the field of entrepreneurs.
4. Lida Loem
Lida Loem is the founder of Support Her Enterprises (SHE), a social enterprise that acts as a source of investments, training, and consultation for women across Cambodia.
Women in Cambodia own 65 percent of small businesses and yet less than 50 percent of these businesses employ more than one person, Loem saw this problem and created SHE as the solution.
SHE has the ability to connect women-owned businesses with willing investors.
This, along with the organization’s desire to further educate women on entrepreneurial expertise, has facilitated over 250 women to grow their business’ revenue 155 percent according to Prospects and Dai.
Lida Loem is one of many inspiring businesswomen whose work has begun to bridge the gender gap in business to help diversify the economy in Cambodia. SHE inspires us all to view female enterprise investments as an opportunity and not a charity.
5. Ibtihaj Muhammad
Founder of Louella and the first hijabi Muslim Olympian, Ibtihaj Muhammad is an inspiring businesswoman to Muslim women, and all women, around the world.
Muhammad is an entrepreneur in all her ventures from her time as an Olympic Fencer to her career as a fashion designer, joining a long list of female Muslim Entrepreneurs.
She recognized the underrepresentation of the Muslim community and more specifically Muslim women in the entrepreneurial sphere and decided to change that.
She has been named Time Magazine’s 100 Most influential List as a leader in global discussions and has even been the model for Mattel’s latest Barbie, for which Muhammad said, “I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true,” on her website IbtihajMuhammad.com.
Along with all of these things, Louella has revolutionized the world of modest fashion, creating bold and colorful patterns for skirts, blouses, and dresses. Ibtihaj Muhammad shows all women how diverse our talents can be and just how far our span of influence can go.
Women are inspired by other women every day as we all work to uplift one another in a world that hasn’t always uplifted us. Sometimes it can be hard to see just how widespread and revolutionary our mobility has become.
These five inspiring businesswomen are just the tip of a massive iceberg spanning the entire globe and inspiring us all to recognize our potential every day.
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