Wed, Oct 13, 2010 - Page 5 News List

China dominates list of richest self-made women

AFP, BEIJING and NEW YORK

More than half of the 20 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese, with their average fortune beating that of US talk show host Oprah Winfrey and author J.K. Rowling, a list showed yesterday.

The three richest women on the planet are Chinese, led by paper-recycling queen Zhang Yin (張茵), who has a personal fortune of US$5.6 billion, according to the Shanghai-based Hurun Report, which compiles data on wealthy individuals.

Of the 20 richest self-made female billionaires, 11 are Chinese, with wealth averaging US$2.6 billion — compared with ninth-placed Winfrey’s US$2.3 billion, the report said.

Rowling, author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books, came bottom of the list, with US$1 billion.

“There is no other country that comes even close to touching the number of self-made women in China. They are now head and shoulders above any other country,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and compiler of the Hurun rich list.

The list includes three billionaires from the US, three from Britain and one each from Italy, Russia and Spain.

The richest non-Chinese person on the list was Rosalia Mera of Spanish clothing store Zara with US$3.5 billion.

Meanwhile, Europe’s Nordic countries remain global leaders in the campaign to close the gender equality gap, according to a study released yesterday that said women could play a key role in leading the world out of economic crisis.

Iceland, Norway and Finland topped the World Economic Forum annual gender gap index, while Pakistan, Chad and Yemen were bottom of the 134-nation rankings.

The report — which assesses how equitably income, resources and opportunities are distributed between the sexes — gave particular praise to the Philippines in Asia and Lesotho in Africa, which were both in the world top 10.

The US surged from 31st last year to 19th, while France dropped more than 25 places to 46th, mainly because of its “poor performance” in women’s political empowerment.

“The evidence reveals that gender disparities in French politics remain persistent, despite legislation that mandates an equal number of men and women candidates on political party lists,” it said.

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