Irrespective of inequality and biases, it is surprising how female Asian entrepreneurs have overcome every obstacle and achieved success. While there is a lack of women representation in business and politics, women entrepreneurs in Asia are smashing the glass ceiling with their resilience.
According to the “World’s Billionaires list of 2020” by Forbes, 67 out of 234 women are self-made billionaires, and most of them hail from Asian countries. Female Asian entrepreneurs are growing substantially and are creating new opportunities for young Asian women.
For my entire life (it’s a pity), my role models were men like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. These men were the epitome of greatness, and both genders admired them equally. I knew of very few women visionaries back then (only Marie Curie and Benazir Bhutto, perhaps!). I blame the lack of texts honoring the work of exceptional women for my ignorance.
Even movies showed dudes building empires — while women-centric movies were mostly rom-coms like Runaway Bride or Bride Wars (ugh!), rarely an Erin Brockovich. Since women today are more vocal about their struggles and are flexing their successes, young girls now have more female role models than before.
TOP FEMALE ASIAN ENTREPRENEURS
Regardless of low women’s empowerment and leadership, Asian female entrepreneurs are leading businesses and creating a sustainable future for themselves. Let us look into the top 5 female Asian entrepreneurs (visuals above also give a detailed overview).
WENJING LIU | Founder and Chairman of Bluesail Medical, China
Wenjing has always envisioned improving healthcare with the latest innovations and technologies. She started her medical equipment and services company in 2002 to pursue her goal. The company is the biggest manufacturer of vinyl medical gloves.
The company uses cutting-edge technology to create innovative medical devices and solutions for the health protection, cardiovascular, surgical, and medical care business units. She also made it to the list of top 100 Businesswomen by Forbes in 2014 and 2015.
GIM CHOO NG | Founder of EtonHouse International Education Group, Singapore
Fascinated by the pre-school experiences of her daughter in London, this woman eventually established EtonHouse school in Singapore. The personalized curriculum of the school is the direct reflection of Ng’s beliefs to create engaging experiences that foster critical thinking and confidence in children.
Under her dynamic leadership, EtonHouse has more than 120 schools across 12 countries. She was the first Singaporean woman awarded the Freedom of the City of London for her contribution to international education.
HAE-YEON YI | CEO of HLSCIENCE, Korea
This dynamic lady is the CEO of this R&D intensive bio-healthcare company established in 2001. Hae-Yeon had one vision — to create safe new technologies and materials that enhance the health and beauty of everyone.
The company focuses on developing, manufacturing, and distributing new materials and technologies for the bio-healthcare industry.
Hae-Yeon has always advocated using the latest technology to alleviate the health and beauty of every person, especially women. Thus the company has R&D centers spanning across the globe. She has been honored by the government and civil sector for her contribution to the health industry.
SHIROMAL COORAY | Chairman, MD of Jetwing Travels & Jetwing Hotels, Srilanka
Shiromal brand is the reflection of her values of enabling the world to witness the rich Sri Lankan culture. She joined her family business to provide a premier Sri Lankan hospitality experience to the world while uplifting the local community. Her education and rich experiences have always helped her to achieve substantial success in her career.
Shiromal urges young women to be confident in their abilities, take difficult decisions and empower each other.
AYAKO ISHIKAWA | Founder, CEO of MeetsMore, Japan
Ayako had a simple idea to connect customers with the service providers and make business possible between them. She achieved this via her platform that enables customers to meet and send price quotations to any local service provider like photographers, cleaners, electricians, beauticians and others.
Her vision was to help small and medium enterprises lacking proper skills to conduct the business and grow their customer base. Her experience at Zazzle also came in handy during the development phase of her business.
Asia Needs To Invest in Women
It is high time for Asia to start investing in women and their future. Culture, religion, and social pressures largely attribute to low female economic participation and gender inequality in Asia. Covid-19 has also aggravated the gender gap in labor force participation as more women lost their jobs than men during the pandemic.
Encouraging female entrepreneurship can significantly narrow down the gender participation and pay gaps in the labor market. It will eventually lead to the economic growth and prosperity of every country.