50 Women Who Broke Barriers In the Business World

Census data shows women have consistently been paid less than men for decades or longer. Some women also feel that they’ve missed out on promotions or job opportunities because of their gender.

To honor advancements in gender equality in the workplace, Stacker compiled a list of 50 women who broke barriers in the business world.

The list includes women from a variety of industries and a range of ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. It features both historical figures and modern-day legends.

Katharine Graham

Katharine Graham became the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company, the Washington Post Company, in 1972. Graham elevated the newspaper’s standard of investigative journalism, which uncovered the Watergate scandal under her leadership.

South Carolina didn’t add the first woman into its Business Hall of Fame until 1989—some 250 years after the inductee, Eliza Lucas Pinckney, made some major business accomplishments.

Eliza Lucas Pinckney

Born in 1867 to sharecroppers, Madam C.J. Walker launched a collection of hair products for African American women at age 38. The company became a rapid success, turning Walker into one of the richest African American women of the time.

Madam C.J. Walker

After her divorce from Desi Arnaz, she bought her ex-husband out of their company, Desilu Productions, thereby becoming the first woman to have ownership over a major television studio.

Lucille Ball

Muriel Siebert

Despite never earning a college degree, Muriel Siebert became the first female member of the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 28, 1967. She stayed the only woman out of more than 1,360 men on the stock exchange for a decade.

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