After hearing that women are still poorly represented in the ranks of senior management, that they lack the necessary sponsors to get to the top, and that they are still susceptible to “maternal wall bias” in the workplace, there’s finally some good news: BBC, in their program Changing Fortunes, reveals that the world’s wealthiest women are increasing. Their fourth episode on The Feminine Touch reveals that a number of female Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI) are joining the ranks of men in creating wealth.
In the 2012 Forbes compilation of The World’s Billionaires, 21 women made it to the list of the world’s richest compared to only 20 in the previous year. For 2012, the total net worth of these women top earners is $248.6 billion or an average wealth of $11.84 billion each. This also shows a slight improvement from the figures of the year before where their average wealth was at $11.6 billion each.
All in all, the Forbes listing showed that more women all over the globe are getting wealthier. Of the 1,226 people worth at least one billion dollars, 104 (or 8.5 percent) are women. That might be a meager number but as Erin Carlyle, a Forbes Staffer writes: “Still, that’s a record number of women on the Forbes Billionaires List. Ten years ago, in 2002, only 36 women were Forbes Billionaires.”
Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s February 27, 2013 rankings of the top 100 of the world’s billionaires showed 13 women on the list with a total combined wealth of $240.6 billion.
BBC’s infographic on The Feminine Touch shows the growing feminisation of wealth. All over the world, UHNWIs comprise 10.9 percent or 20,245 of the wealthy. BBC defines UHNWIs as “those that have at least US$30 million in investable assets.” Of this global total, 6.5 percent or 12,032 come from Western nations, with 4.5 percent or 8,395 UHNWIs based in the United States. Asia’s UHNWIs comprise 4 percent or 7,443 of the global total. Asian countries which have the highest number of UHNWIs are India (1.8 percent or 3,321 UHNWIs) and China (1 percent or 1,871 UHNWIs). There are 770 UHNWIs or 0.4 percent of the total in the rest of the world. The infographic further reveals that 55 percent of the wealth of these women is inherited. Others are directors, chairwomen, CEOs, founders, presidents, and partners of companies.
Of course, the distribution of wealth among genders is still unequal and it will take more time before women can achieve the same status in this area as men. But as BBC points out, this “growing feminisation of wealth” is likely to continue as women become more educated and face less discrimination. Even if that’s a long way in coming, it’s still good news.