Beer’s career spans from farming and restaurateur to author and entrepreneur. In 2004, at 59, she took her gourmet food company public; the business now sells food, wine and home goods and recorded more than $50 million in 2021 revenue. In 2009, Beer hosted The Cook and The Chef and became one of Australia’s most-loved personalities. Beer was appointed Member of the Order of Australia in 2012, and in 2014 founded a foundation to improve food mindfulness and nutrition for older Australians, especially those living in senior care facilities.
In 2011, at age 50, Budiman cofounded DCI Indonesia, the nation’s largest data center operator with over 50% market share. DCI is also Southeast Asia’s first Tier IV data center, the industry’s highest rating for reliability and resiliency. Budiman’s stake in the company is worth over $1 billion with growth expected to rise as the company posted an 81% rise in revenue and a 57% increase in profit on a compounded basis over the past three years.
Burrow found her way into the family labor movement business through teaching. In 2004, at age 50, Burrow was elected the first female president of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. In 2006, the organization was absorbed and became the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). In 2010, she was elected the first female leader of the world’s largest international trade union organization with 200 million workers in 163 countries.
Chau has built her career alongside billionaire Li Ka-shing, from chairing his foundation to cofounding Horizon Ventures in 2002. Horizon has invested in some 280 startups, including global tech giants Zoom, Facebook/Meta and Spotify. Her VC has pivoted toward eco-friendly innovations like edible packaging and plant-based chicken nuggets, and in a 2021 speech at the Asian Philanthropy Forum she called on the wealthy to combat inequality.
Affectionately called the “Godmother of Korean cuisine”, Chef Cho started as a hotel chef and has been advancing Korean gastronomy for more than 40 years. In 2019, she opened the Michelin star restaurant Hansikgonggan in Seoul. At age 61, Chef Cho was honored as Asia’s Best Female Chef, and in 2021, she was chosen as Seoul’s first recipient of the Michelin Mentor Chef Award due to her commitment to the next generation of Korean chefs.
In 2013, at age 50, Ganesh cofounded India’s largest home healthcare company, Protea Medical, of which Ganesh and her husband own a fifth of the $130 million privately held company. In August 2021, Ganesh took over as chair and her efforts during the pandemic have resulted in an expected 30% growth in revenue to 1.8 billion rupees ($25 million) for the year ending March 2022. Ganesh also actively promotes and invests in Indian startups.
Born in Singapore, raised in Malaysia, educated in India and the U.K., and living between Sydney, Australia, and Port Dickson, Malaysia, Gill’s art is inspired by her various homes, influenced by their cultures, landscapes and communities. In 2013, at age 54, Gill represented Australia at the 55th Venice Biennale with her exhibition, Here Art Grows on Trees. Since, Gill has had her work exhibited at MoMA in New York and Tate Modern in London.
Guo’s desire to create extravagant and imaginative gowns in post-Cultural Revolution China was at first misunderstood, but later widely celebrated for capturing and innovating on traditional designs. She vaulted into the international spotlight after dressing Rihanna for the Met Gala in 2015 and subsequently earning a guest membership in the ultra-exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, allowing her to officially present her collection as haute couture in Paris.
Hockley played cricket for New Zealand for more than 20 years but her achievements didn’t end on the pitch. In 2013, at age 51, Hockley became one of four women in the world to be inducted into the International Cricket Hall of Fame. Three years later she was elected as New Zealand Crickets’ first female president. Hockley has since pushed for gender equality within the organization, including leading a 50% female 8-person board.
Hui launched her career as a film director in 1979, directing and producing films and television series that document Hong Kong’s people and culture. She was honored for lifetime accomplishments at the Asian Film Awards and awarded Asian Filmmaker of the Year at the Busan International Film Festival. In 2020, at age 73, received the Honorary Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice International Film Festival.
Imada is one of roughly 20 female tôji. As a third generation tôji, Imada learned the art of sake from her father and grandfather and took over the family business, Imada Shuzō, in rural Hiroshima. It is one of the only breweries owned and led by a female sake master. At age 55, Imada’s “Fukucho” ginjo sake won a platinum award at Kura Master 2017, an annual contest selecting the best from over 550 Japanese sake brands.
Jareeporn has led logistics and industrial conglomerate WHA Group since she and her late husband founded the company in 2003. An outspoken supporter of Thailand’s plan to develop industry in its Eastern Economic Corridor, she often gives speeches on ideas for the country’s development. Under her leadership, the WHA Group has reacted dynamically to significant global economic challenges, embracing Chinese investors amid the U.S.-China trade war and diversifying into healthcare infrastructure as the Covid-19 pandemic continued.
An infectious disease expert, specializing in HIV/AIDS, Kamarulzaman established Malaysia’s Center of Excellence for Research in AIDS and is currently the chair of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation and an adjunct associate professor at Yale University. In 2020, she was elected the first Asian president of the International AIDS Society. In 2021, she was appointed a member of the WHO’s Science Council, a group that advises on scientific and technological advances impacting public health globally.
Kant spent most of her career at the State Bank of India, even serving as its managing director before she was appointed CFO of the World Bank Group in 2019. Under her leadership in the pandemic era, the group has been investing heavily toward the future, including longer term capital market funds in order to finance Covid-19 response in developing economies, while also supporting the mainstreaming of climate action plans.
Kawakubo’s presence in the Tokyo and Paris fashion scene under the brand Comme des Garçons is extreme in both style and wearability, while Dover Street Market, her second company, extends her avante-garde design to slightly more accessible streetwear. Her affinity for marrying abstract artwork and challenging collections was captured in a Met exhibit in 2017. But Kawakubo has often characterized herself as business-minded—and CdG reportedly netted $320 million in revenue before the pandemic.
In 2011, at age 51, Ko was named China chairman at one of the oldest, most prestigious international law firms. Ko is also a founding partner of the firm’s Asia capital markets practice, where she advised on nine out of 10 of Hong Kong’s largest IPOs. Her largest to date was the $20.5 billion listing of pan-Asia insurer AIA Group in 2010. She was also the first woman to chair the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s listing committee.
Tokyo’s first female governor easily won reelection in 2020, though Koike’s approval ratings notably dipped from 86% in 2016 to 64% amid climbing coronavirus infections and subsequent citywide restrictions. After creating her own party and rising to the governorship, Koike has been suggested as a potential candidate for prime minister. After a one year pandemic delay, Tokyo hosted the Olympics in front of mostly empty stands last summer.
Kola founded two startups in Silicon Valley, most notably the data erasure company Certus Software, but her career surged when she returned to her native India and entered venture capital in 2006. She branded her firm as Kalaari Capital in 2012, which has raised more than $740 million to invest in more than 90 startups, generally at the Series A stage. Her firm last year announced an initiative to invest $10 million into women-founded or -led startups.
Kong became the first woman and Singaporean academic to helm Singapore Management University in 2019 at age 54 after serving leadership roles in National University of Singapore for more than two decades. Her research background is in social and urban geography. As president of SMU, Kong has aimed to reimagine the core curriculum, promote its strong roots in entrepreneurship and innovation and develop more opportunities for female students.
Kusama is believed to have influenced contemporaries such as Andy Warhol, but in 2017, at age 88, she went viral. Her Infinity Mirror Rooms have been tagged hundreds of thousands of times on social media. In 2017, Tokyo’s Yayoi Kusama Museum opened and Kusama has since become the world’s highest selling female artist, accounting for 25% of auction sales made by women. She continues to actively work from her mental health unit in Tokyo, where she’s lived since 1977.
In addition to chairing the Port Football Club and being appointed as manager of the men’s national football team in August 2021, Nualphan leads Muang Thai—ranked second in Thailand’s estimated $8 billion insurance market. She is an heiress to the Kasikorn Bank fortune, but she has forged her own unique reputation as a passionate supporter of Thailand’s football teams, distributor for luxury handbag designer Hermès, and a frequently suggested candidate for Bangkok governor.
Lari is the designer behind preserving and designing Pakistan’s state buildings like the Finance and Trade Center and State Oil House. Recently Lari has pushed her designs toward climate resilience and emissions reduction or elimination, most famously designing earthquake-resistant homes for low-income communities. Her work as Pakistan’s first female architect won her the Fukuoka Prize recognizing Asian cultural heritage in 2016 and the Jane Drew Prize for women thriving in male-dominated fields in 2020.
In May 2021 Mata’afa unseated the incumbent to become the island nation’s first female prime minister and, after 15 weeks and a constitutional crisis, she assumed the role in July. The granddaughter of a Samoan independence fighter and daughter of the nation’s first PM, Mata’afa had previously served as deputy PM and minister of natural resources and environment, where she advocated for women’s voices to be included in climate policy and received a Conservation International award for protecting oceans.
A two-time No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, Moriarty has written nine novels, translated into 40 languages and selling over 20 million copies worldwide. In 2017, at age 51, Moriarty’s novel, Big Little Lies was adapted for a HBO television series, starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Nine Perfect Strangers was also adapted for a television series by Hulu in 2018, starring and co-produced by Nicole Kidman.
Recruited by the company’s founder, Muliaty grew from an assistant pharmacist to president director in 2000. The company went public in 2016 and opened 10 new clinics in 2019 before the company leaned into at-home testing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Prodia most recently reported a 318% percent increase in profits out of growing demand for all kinds of health tests, while it also made charitable contributions of Covid-19 tests.
Dame Wendy Pye founded her educational publishing group in 1985. It now has over 2,000 titles and sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. She was the first woman inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame and in 2013, she was appointed Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and education.
Ramnath carved a name for herself in the finance world by building up ICICI Group’s e-commerce division and chairing its private equity subsidiary before starting her own private equity firm, Multiples Alternate Asset Management in 2009. Now Multiples has more than $1.8 billion under management including finance, health and a power exchange. The firm is aiming to raise $10 billion by 2030, with plans to invest $8 billion of that funding into portfolio companies.
Since publishing her breakout novel, The God of Small Things, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1997, Roy has transformed into an activist for human rights and social issues. Though her comments have provoked controversy, and in one case sedition charges, her reputation is renowned: At 53, she was included in Time’s 100 Most Influential People and her second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, was shortlisted for national and international awards.
A decade after Shimizu became the Bank of Japan’s first female branch manager, in 2020 she took the helm as one of the bank’s executive directors—becoming the first woman to hold the position. Over her 34-year-career with the BOJ, Shimizu has worked in a London branch and developed an extensive economic research portfolio. She has an engineering degree from University of Tokyo and a master’s from Stanford University.
In her 35 years as chair of Tractors and Farm Equipment, Srinivasan had diversified the company into engineering plastics and other farm equipment while also supporting low-income and small-scale farmers with adaptive agriculture. Under her leadership, the firm has become the third largest tractor manufacturer globally. In 2021, she was named the first private sector chair appointed to the Public Sector Enterprise Board, overseeing India’s state companies.
Subakat’s brand of halal face and hair care, Wardah, has become the dominant locally-made line in Indonesia’s multi-billion beauty and personal care market. The pharmacist-entrepreneur started her business in 1985, concocting halal shampoos with her chemical engineer husband in their garage, and now the company has more than 10,000 employees. Wardah also promotes women’s empowerment in addition to funding scholarships.
Ruenvadee became the first female secretary-general for Thailand’s SEC in 2017. Under her leadership it has launched an aggressive crackdown on insider trading and fraud by streamlining criminal investigations. She has spoken out about the turbulence of managing cryptocurrency and NFTs, and has also worked to facilitate funding for small and medium-sized enterprises and create digital infrastructure for the market’s corporate trading.
With more than 30 years of clinical and research experience and more than 350 publications, Dr. Swaminathan assumed the role of WHO’s chief scientist just one year before the Covid-19 pandemic. She’s since made it her mission to keep the public informed, especially Indian nationals hard hit by outbreaks. In particular she has rallied against unequal vaccine distribution—comparing it to inequities in treatment of HIV, her area of expertise—and treating the virus with drug Ivermectin.
Thai Huong is known for her revolutionary role in the agriculture sector in Vietnam. She boosted the country’s dairy industry with the group’s investment in cow breeding and farming in 2008 using technology from Israel, helping to lower the ratio of milk products using milk powder to 60% (as of 2020) from 92%. She made more bold moves in the last few years by investing in milk product manufacturing in Russia and Australia. The investment project in Russia, planned at a total $2,7 billion capital, is near completion of phase one, with a milk factory expected to open in May 2022.
Thomas turned a childhood passion for rockets into a career. She joined DRDO in 1988 when she worked on design and development of the ballistic missile Agni. In her 32 years studying Agni missiles, Thomas developed many state-of-the-art systems using brand new technologies, and was the first woman in India to lead a missile project. In 2018, at age 55, Thomas was appointed Director General of Aeronautical Systems at the DRDO.
She founded and built Vinh Hoan into a publicly listed company that became the biggest catfish producer in Vietnam since 2010 and has been keeping that top position since then. The company has seven factories that have capacity to produce 1,000 tons of fish daily. Its total exports reached $275 million in the first 9 months of 2021, an increase of 15% compared to the same period the year before. It is the only company in Vietnam that has successfully produced collagen and gelatin from catfish skin, an ingredient that is used in producing cosmetic and nutritional food.
Utarini specializes in dengue fever, a disease that affects almost 400 million annually and is considered one of the world’s 10 greatest threats by WHO. Utarini breeds mosquitoes that typically transmit dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses, but her particular breed carries a bacterium that prevents transmission. In 2020, at age 55, Utarini led the first randomized controlled trial in Yogyakarta, which proved her strategy reduced disease rates.
In 2007, Uy cofounded one of the largest fixed broadband operators in the Philippines. In 2019, at age 50, Uy led negotiations for a $250 million investment from Warburg Pincus that bolstered the company’s fiber network to cover 25% of Filipino households. Converge went public in late 2020 in one of the country’s largest-ever IPOs, raising $522 million. Shares have since risen 70,% pushing Converge’s market cap to 233 billion pesos ($4.6 billion).
Widyawati leads the Indonesian state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina. Appointed in 2018, at age 50, Widyawati is the second female director of the company. Amid revenue and profit losses during the pandemic, as well as fires at two of Pertamina’s refineries, Widyawati hit production targets in the first half of 2021 and has focused efforts on building renewable energy sources to more cleanly power Indonesia in the future.
In 2018, at age 57 and after 31 years within the Macquarie Group, one of the world’s largest financial services firms, Wikramanayake was appointed CEO. She has become one of the business world’s most vocal leaders on climate change and a low-carbon economy. Since she took charge, Macquarie shares are up 36% with record profits in the fiscal year ending March 2021, also up 10%. Wikramanayake was named Australia’s highest paid CEO in 2021, earning AUD$15.97 million.
Wong leapt from chief executive of HSBC Greater China in 2019 to leading OCBC in 2021, becoming Singapore’s first female bank chief executive—and marking a return to where she started her career. Wong took helm of OCBC with a goal of doubling the bank’s wealth managers to 500 by 2023 in order to cater to Greater China’s corporate needs, and she has said the bank is considering building a cryptocurrency exchange.
Xu hit a jackpot after her VC firm Capital Today earned $2.6 billion out of its initial $18 million bet on tech retail site JD.com after the IPO. As one of the first venture capitalists in China, she focused on upcoming consumer trends, demonstrated by her investment in Wahaha, predicting future popularity of bottled drinks that were initially unappealing to mainlanders. With Capital Today she has since invested in other successful retail ventures like Tudou, Ctrip and Yonghui Life.
Acting since the 1970s, Youn made her Hollywood debut at age 73 in 2020 in Minari, a film about a Korean-American family searching for their American Dream in the Arkansas Ozarks. Youn went on to become the first Korean actor to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Youn was also awarded a Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA Award for her role, and received the Golden Crown Order of Cultural Merit in South Korea.