Which industry is best for women to climb the wealth ladder?

Updated 2017-07-24 10:12:53 CGTN

Barbara Walters, Christiane Amanpour and Megyn Kelly have more in common than just tense run-ins with Donald Trump during his candidacy and presidency.

They're all female media workers with at least six-zero bank accounts – and according to a new study, their fortune should not be newsflash.

A report by London-based wealth consultancy WealthInsight and Compelo, a global organization specializing in publishing and intelligence, has found that of all industries, the media has the most female millionaires.

Despite media being the sector where women are most likely to amass wealth, the percentage of those who have hit it big is rather modest – a mere 25 percent of all media millionaires – reflecting the seriousness of the gender pay gap.

Inequality across the board

The figures are even more disparate for women in other sectors.

Only eight percent of millionaires in the technology and telecommunications industry are female with male millionaires making up a staggering 92 percent.

The findings expose another layer of the ongoing crisis in tech and telecoms firms, especially in Silicon Valley where Uber, Binary Capital and startup accelerator 500 Startups have been rocked by a slew of shocking exposés.

The industry, which has long prided itself on incorporating liberal views on schismatic issues such as climate change and LGBTQ rights, is now dogged by scandals about harassment of and discrimination against women and the prevalence of a toxic "frat culture."

The report also found that sectors like energy and utilities, construction and engineering and transport and logistics – fields that have long been dominated by men – did not provide female workers enough leverage to climb the ladder of financial success.

Only eight percent of millionaires in these industries are women.

Pay equity was also investigated in 70 countries worldwide, and results paint a grim picture of prevalent gender-based imbalance in striking gold.

Vietnam ranked first with women accounting for 26 percent of the country's population of millionaires, while Qatar was the least equal country among those surveyed. A token three percent of millionaires in the tiny gas-rich peninsula are women.

China came at No. 23, along with countries such as the U.S., Australia, Finland and Israel.

It led the rankings of BRICS countries, with India and South Africa following at No. 42 and Brazil and Russia sharing 50th place.

"Gender equality is changing in millionaire circles, though not from Western pressures, the change is coming from the East. Alongside their ballooning first generational wealth, Asian countries are quickly becoming the most equal in the world," noted Head of WealthInsight, Oliver Williams.

DIY wealth building

The report also found that female millionaires are more likely to amass their wealth through entrepreneurial endeavors (50 percent) than salaried positions (31 percent).

This exemplifies the dire gender pay gap issue as male millionaires racked up their fortune through salaries (45 percent) with 47 percent owing their deep pockets to entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship, however, has been of special significance for Chinese looking to write their own rags-to-riches stories in a country that has been welcoming personal initiatives and encouraging dreaming big for the past three decades as it attempts to inject impetus to its economic growth.

And when Chinese strike it rich, it's usually a nine-zero sum.

According to the latest edition of the Hurun Global Rich List, published in March 2017, China is the world's number 1 not only in terms of the super-rich (609 billionaires with a whopping combined wealth of 1.6 trillion U.S. dollars), but also self-made billionaires.

It is also home to two-thirds of the world's self-made female billionaires, accounting for a staggering 79.5 percent of the 152 self-made billionaires worldwide

The country's richest woman who carved her own spot in the elite club of the super-wealthy is "Beijing Real Estate Queen" Chen Lihua, chairwoman of Fuwah International Group, one of the biggest commercial property developers in the Chinese capital.

Her wealth is valued at 7.2 billion U.S. dollars.

"China is indisputably now the best place in the world to be a female entrepreneur," Rupert Hoogewerf, the publisher of the Hurun Report, wrote in the March report.

"The one-child policy coupled with traditional childcare, whereby grandparents often play a much larger role in bringing up the children than in developed countries, is perhaps a reason. Another is the business boom this generation has enjoyed in China," Hoogewerf told TechNode.

Tech-oriented women who are looking to hit the jackpot would be happy to know that, according to the Hurun Global self-made women billionaires list, the tech and telecoms industry does not seem like a dreaded place.

The index, released to mark International Women's Day this year, shows that TMT – Technology, Media, Telecom – has the most number of self-made women billionaires (13 in total), followed by manufacturing and retail with 11 each.

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