The daughter also rises
Women are storming emerging-world boardrooms
Aug 27th 2011 | from the print edition
ZHANG YIN (also known by her Cantonese name, Cheung Yan) was the eldest of eight children of a lowly Red Army officer who was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution for “capitalist offences”. Today she is one of the world’s richest self-made women, with an estimated fortune of $1.6 billion. In the early 1980s, as a dogsbody in a paper mill, she noted that the waste paper her superiors so casually discarded was actually worth something. She has been capitalising on her insight ever since. Nine Dragons Paper, which she founded with her husband in 1995, is now one of the world’s largest paper recyclers.
The emerging world is home to many businesswomen like Ms Zhang. Seven of the 14 women identified on Forbes magazine’s list of self-made billionaires are Chinese. Many firms in emerging markets do a better job of promoting women than their Western rivals, some surveys suggest. In China, 32% of senior managers are female, compared with 23% in America and 19% in Britain. In India, 11% of chief executives of large companies are female, compared with 3% of Fortune 500 bosses in America and 3% of FTSE 100 bosses in Britain. Turkey and Brazil come third and joint fourth (behind Finland and Norway) in the World Economic Forum’s ranking of countries by the proportion of CEOs who are women. In Brazil, 11% of chief executives and 30% of senior executives are women.