Women hold only 8.2% of CEO positions at large corporations, despite making up half of the population. But don’t let that get you down. Women are making strides in the business world.  

We have a long way to go until female entrepreneurs are on equal footing with their male counterparts, but there are an increasing number of successful business women who are setting out to change the narrative. Today, we look at seven of these remarkable women who have not only shattered glass ceilings but also paved the way for future generations of aspiring business leaders. 

1. Taylor Swift 

Taylor Swift is a force of nature. Swift’s success comes from her business savvy, eye for marketing, and willingness to invest in herself. Her Eras Tour, which pays homage to the 33-year-old singer-songwriter’s illustrious career, has brought joy to hundreds of thousands of attendees and has boosted the U.S. economy by nearly $5 billion. We can’t wait to see what she does next, assuming we can get tickets. 

2. Zhang Xin 

Growing up under a communist regime, Zhang Xin’s life was dull, uniform, and gray. Gray buildings. Gray uniforms. There were even sandstorms that turned the sky gray. Xin and the company she cofounded, property developer SOHO China, are credited with bringing lights and colors to the city of Beijing. After becoming “the woman who built Beijing,” Xin went on to found the New York-based film production company Closer Media. 

Leveling the Playing Field 

Starting a business is challenging enough without having to worry about sexism, stereotypes, and glass ceilings. To even the playing field, there are numerous resources available for female entrepreneurs. 

Small business grants, like those offered by Grants.gov, can help you kick off your business and, best of all, don’t have to be repaid. Small business loans do have to be repaid but can nonetheless be a lifeline. Check out the U.S. Small Business Administration and its Office of Women Business Ownership for loans and additional programs, including training, counseling, and access to credit. Finally, look for mentoring and networking opportunities. Groups like the National Association of Women Business Owners can make a key difference in the professional lives of young female entrepreneurs.  

3. Debbie Sterling 

As an engineering student, Debbie Sterling was outnumbered by her male counterparts. Asking herself, “why should boys have all the fun?” Sterling set out to change the status quo. Enter GoldieBlox: an innovative toy company with a mission to ignite girls’ passion for science and engineering. GoldieBlox has been a smash hit, becoming the first small business to be featured in a Superbowl ad

The Value of an Education  

Stepping into the world of business is already a challenge, and women in business often face the added stumbling blocks of sexism, sexual harassment, and unequal pay. That’s why it’s so important for aspiring female entrepreneurs to hit the ground running. A business degree can help, providing the foundation women need to advance in their careers or even start their businesses and leave the rest behind.   

4. Sara Blakely  

Sara Blakely was looking for the perfect undergarment to go under a pair of white pants. Armed only with a pair of scissors, she made her own from a pair of pantyhose, and from that moment of invention came SPANX. SPANX now has retail shops around the world, and Blakely can be counted among the world’s youngest self-made female billionaires. 

5. Jessica Alba 

Jessica Alba was at the top of her acting career when, in 2008, she gave birth to her daughter, Honor, and decided to take her life in a new direction. Alba launched The Honest Company in 2012, a wellness brand specializing in eco-friendly products. Alba was willing to pivot in her career and dared to imagine a better life than the one she had. 

6. Oprah Winfrey 

Winfrey was born poor in rural Mississippi. From her humble beginnings, she built a media and business empire, developing and hosting the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” starring in “The Color Purple,” and creating multimedia production company Harpo Productions. She remains an inspiration and a powerful force across multiple industries. 

7. Whitney Wolfe Herd 

Whitney Wolfe Herd created not one tech giant but two, cofounding Tinder and later its rival, Bumble. With Bumble, Herd wanted to change the gender dynamics of dating, inspired by the advances women had made in the workforce. She took the dating app public in 2021, making her the youngest female CEO to take a U.S. company public.  

Take Your Place Among Today’s Successful Female Entrepreneurs  

The inspiring stories of these female entrepreneurs highlight the transformative power of determination, innovation, and resilience. These women have shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for future generations of aspiring business leaders. 

If you aspire to make your mark in the world of business, consider taking the next step in your entrepreneurial journey by continuing your education. The University of Texas Permian Basin offers online business programs that will provide a comprehensive foundation for success in the dynamic business landscape. 

UT Permian Basin’s AACSB-accredited College of Business offers these online Bachelor of Business Administration programs: 

Professionals who want to build upon their foundational knowledge and learn to stand out as a business leader can pursue a Master of Business Administration:   

Take the lead. Apply to one of our online business programs and, regardless of where your entrepreneurial interests lie, prepare for future success.