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The estimated value of unpaid work performed by women every year across the globe stands at roughly $10 trillion. This is twice the amount of that done by men. In the UK alone, men earn on average 9% more than women, and, only 16% of those who are on FTSE 350 executive committees are women.

Happily, these statistics are slowly starting to change for the better, and it is in part because of a number of successful women who are galvanizing change across all areas of industry on a global scale. They are systematically shaking up the old and bringing in the new.

Here are five names of female powerhouses you need to commit to memory.

1. Christine Lagarde

Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

Topping most lists of the World’s Most Powerful Women, Christine Lagarde is an individual whose career you should follow with interest. She took over the position of managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2011 and is the first woman in history to hold that position.

She was placed #3 on Forbes The World's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2018.

Known for taking a no-nonsense stance on the benefits of tackling sexism in the workplace and increasing the earning potential of women across the globe, she recently said in an interview that employing more women in the workplace could boost economies by up to 35%.

2. Carla Harris

Vice Chairman of Global Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley

One of Wall Street’s most influential women, Harris joined Morgan Stanley in 1987 and worked diligently to hold a number of key roles within the institution before being promoted to that which she holds currently. In 2013 she was also appointed by then President Barack Obama to chair the National Women's Business Council.

Famously tenacious and fiercely industrious, Harris’ advice for all those who currently doubt their abilities or are unsure whether they can achieve their goals is; “Own your power. Don't be distracted by anything anybody else tells you.”

3. Jacqueline Novogratz

Founder and CEO, Acumen

After quitting her job on Wall Street in 1986, Novogratz co-founded Rwanda’s first microfinance institution. Fifteen years later, in 2001, she founded Acumen, an impact investment company. Instead of just handing out aid, Acumen invests in companies and opportunities at a local level to help reignite depressed economies and provide viable, long lasting economic solutions.

Novogratz was instrumental in transforming the area of investment that we now term Venture Philanthropy.

As of December 2016 Acumen’s assets were worth $117.3m.


4. Janice Bryant Howroyd

Founder and CEO, ACT-1 Group

The first African-American woman in history to own a billion-dollar company, Howroyd borrowed $900 from her mother in in 1978 to get her business career off the ground. One of eleven children, Howroyd allows nothing to stand in her way. She credits her parents with giving her the skills that allow her to “make lots from nothing.”

Today, her company ACT-1 is one of the largest employment firms in the world.

5. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Founder and Chair, Biocon Ltd

India’s richest self-made woman, Mazumdar-Shaw founded one of India’s largest bio-pharmaceutical companies in 1978 at the age of 25. Although she initially faced years of antagonism as a female entrepreneur, Mazumdar-Shaw’s determination and ruthless professionalism lead to the eventual global success of Biocon.

Ranked #60 on Forbes The World's 100 Most Powerful Women list in 2018, she now has a net worth of around $3.4bn.

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