The world has taken great steps toward empowering women over the past decade. And even though we still have a long way to go, women continue to break glass ceilings and work hard at proving that they can be successful leaders.
However, despite the success of many women and the fact that it was proven that women empowerment can be a key driver in economic recovery, only 4.8% of global 500 companies are run by women. But despite this low number of women participating in leading positions, there are still female leaders pushing against cultural norms.
Here are 8 of the top women CEOs worldwide:
1. Dana Nasser Al Sabah
After being a board member of Kuwait Projects Company (Holding) (KIPCO) for almost two years, Dana Nasser Al Sabah became the company’s acting CEO in 2022. Under her leadership, the company announced that it will be merging with Qurain Petrochemical Industries.
In addition to leading KIPCO, Dana is a board member in several leading companies, including Gulf Insurance Group, OSN, and Kamco Invest. She has also founded the board trustees of the American University of Kuwait, which she currently chairs.
2. Emma Walmsley
In 2017, Emma Walmsley became the first woman CEO of a major pharmaceutical company. Before that, Emma had a 17-year career working at L’Oreal.
Emma was also named the most powerful women internationally by Fortune in both 2021 and 2020.
“Don’t worry about status but do worry about learning and rounding out your skills.” - Emma Walmsley
3. Hana Al Rostamani
Hana Al Rostamani is the CEO of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), which is the largest bank in UAE in terms of assets. Hana is the first female CEO to head the bank, and thus her leadership skills and futuristic thinking is well recognized both regionally and globally.
With more than 22 years of experience in the financial sector, the leading CEO also serves as a board member of the AW Rostamani Group, chairperson of FAB Private Bank Suisse, and a member of MasterCard Advisory.
In addition to being named one of the most powerful CEOs in MENA for 2022 by Forbes, she also ranked as MENA’s third most powerful woman.
4. Julie Sweet
CEO and chairman of Accenture, Julie Sweet, was named by both Forbes and Fortune for being one of the most powerful women globally. In addition to leading Accenture, Julie joined the World Economic Forum Board of Trustees in 2021, due to her long successful career, as well as her commitment to achieving gender diversity and equality.
As a leader in innovation and technology, Sweet is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Business Roundtable, where she chairs the Technology, Internet & Innovation Committee
5. Karen Lynch
Karen Lynch is the CEO of CVS Health, where she leads 300K employees and pushed the company to take a key proactive part in the response against COVID-19. In addition to her work at CVS, Karen also serves as a board member advisor of IBM Watson Health.
Her long career in healthcare makes her a leader in the healthcare industry, during which she was listed in Forbes’ Most Powerful Women International List.
6. Mary Barra
Holding the fourth spot in Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women in 2021, Mary Barra is the acting CEO of General Motors. Having held the position since 2014, Mary is the first woman to lead one of The United States’ biggest automakers.
A symbol of success and breaking glass ceilings, Mary helped change the course of GM from complete bankruptcy back to being one of the leading companies worldwide. In fact, the revenue of GM in the second quarter of 2021 saw a year-over-year growth of 103.64% since 2009.
Under her leadership, GM became one of the world’s top businesses for gender equality.
7. Samia Bouazza
Named as one of Top 100 CEOs In The Middle East 2022 by Forbes’, Samia is the CEO of Multiply Group, a leading Abu-Dhabi tech company. In 2003, Samia founded Multiply Marketing Consultancy, which was later acquired by the International Holding Company in 2020 and thus became Multiply Group.
As the CEO and managing director, Samia was able to push the company to reach a market capitalization of $5.2B in late 2021. In addition, as a believer in the importance of health and wellness, Samia launched the Group’s health-tech startup HealthierU.
She also serves as the board member to several companies across the globe, including Arena Events Group Ltd and Selphagy Therapeutics, Inc.
8. Whitney Wolfe Herd
Whitney Wolfe Herd is the founder and CEO of dating app, Bumble. After Bumble went public in February 2021, Whitney became the youngest self made billionaire according to Forbes.
She is also ranked number 33 in Forbes’ list of America’s Self-Made Women.
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