Reimagining what it means to age!
Despite progress in gender equality, women over 50 still face a unique set of barriers and challenges in society. Whether it’s in the workplace or social settings, these women are often overlooked and underestimated. In Asia Pacific, however, there are a number of inspiring role models who have broken barriers and achieved incredible success. In this article, we will be highlighting five amazing women over 50 who are leading the way in their respective fields and showing the world that age is just a number that won’t stop you from achieving greatness.
Dr. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay
Image courtesy of IIT Kharagpur
55-year-old trailblazer Dr. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay has made several esteemed contributions to the field of science and engineering. In 2022, she was awarded Padam Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award for her outstanding achievements in her field. Currently serving her second term as Director at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in India, she is the first woman to hold this position. She earned her Ph.D. from ISI and is an expert in artificial intelligence, with a focus on evolutionary computation, machine learning, pattern recognition, data mining and bioinformatics. Moreover, she is a member of the Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) under the Prime Minister of India.
With more than 300 articles published in prominent journals, conferences and book chapters, along with six authored and edited books by Springer, World Scientific and Wiley, Dr. Bandyopadhyay’s work is highly respected in her field. In addition to this impressive repertoire of work, Dr. Bandyopadhyay has been recognized with prestigious awards, including the Bhatnagar Prize, TWAS Prize, JC Bose Fellowship, Infosys Prize and DBT National Women Bioscientist Award.
Image courtesy of Pinterest
Reaching the age of 62 this year, Chau Hoi Shuen, commonly known as Solina Holly, is a powerful woman in Hong Kong. She is one of the co-founders of Horizons Ventures, backed by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing. The venture capital firm has invested over US$420 million into more than 200 cutting-edge startups, including Skype, DeepMind, Siri, Facebook, Spotify, Impossible Foods and Zoom.
Prior to launching Horizon Ventures in 2002, Chau co-founded the Chinese online media company Tom Group in partnership in 1999 with Li-owned, Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa (now merged with the former). In 2002, she invested RMB1 million in Beijing Leitingwuji Network Company Ltd. and sold it the following year to Tom Group for US$132 million.
Her influence is further magnified through her directorship of the Li Ka Shing Foundation, which holds assets worth US$9 billion. Having donated more than US$2.6 billion, the foundation invests in education and healthcare projects worldwide. She compared her long-standing business partnership with Li, one of Asia’s most affluent figures and a close confidant of hers, to that of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote.
Madhabi Puri Buch
Image courtesy of SEBI
In March 2022, 56-year-old Madhabi Puri Buch took on the role of Chairperson at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which oversees India’s US$3.3 trillion stock market. She is the first female and the youngest (at the age of 56) to hold the position, the first non-Indian Administrative Service (IAS) leader since 2002 and the first from the private sector to lead the market regulator. She began her role during a period of market instability caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and as India prepared to launch its largest-ever initial public offering (IPO) from the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
Prior to her role as Chairperson, Buch served as a full-time member for 4.5 years until October 2021 and headed the SEBI’s Advisory Committee for Leveraging Regulatory and Technology Solutions in December 2021. In her role as chairwoman of the Advisory Committee, she encouraged her staff to use modern technology and data and led a panel that examined solutions for the early detection of market anomalies using a data-driven approach.
Before joining SEBI, Buch consulted at the New Development Bank in Shanghai and served as Managing Director and CEO at ICICI Securities.
Maria Grace Y. Uy
Image courtesy of Converge ICT
In 2007, Maria Uy and her husband Dennis Anthony Uy founded Converge ICT Solutions, one of the Philippines’ largest providers of high-speed internet access. In 2020, they successfully took their company public, raising more than US$500 million in one of the country’s most lucrative IPOs in recent years. At the age of 54, Uy is now serving as the President and co-Founder with a majority shareholding in the business. She manages financial plans and resource allocation for the organization with great success. Uy holds a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from De La Salle University in Manila and is a registered public accountant.
Uy brings a wealth of knowledge to Converge ICT. She previously served as Chief Finance Officer (CFO) at Comclark Network and Technology Corporation and at Angeles City Cable Television Network, where she played a crucial role in driving process improvement, forecasting and budget development. Her managerial expertise also extends to IBM Philippines and Savers Mall. Thanks to her invaluable experience, Converge ICT’s fixed broadband services have been able to extend to over 9.6 million homes across 440 locations nationwide.
Truong Thi Le Khanh
Image courtesy of Vinh Hoan
The Vinh Hoan Group, a publicly listed company, has been the leading catfish producer in Vietnam since 2010, thanks to the visionary leadership of its Chairwoman Truong Thi Le Khanh. Under her guidance, the company serves 46 countries, employs 9,000 people and has a daily filet production capacity of 1,000 tons today.
The company has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1997 when it was founded with just 70 employees and a daily output of ten tons from a small leased factory. Today, it has six processing factories. Madam Khanh is widely regarded as one of the most prominent businesswomen in Vietnam. She is known for her pioneering efforts in sustainability in the pangasius industry, receiving many awards for her accomplishments.
Women over 50 have a lot to offer the world, as perfectly demonstrated by these five inspiring women from the Asia Pacific. They serve as shining examples of what can be achieved regardless of age, gender or other barriers. Through their determination and unwavering spirit, they are challenging the status quo and paving the way for others to achieve their own success.
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