India has just one self-made woman billionaire

One in 100.
One in 100.
Image: Reuters/Jagadeesh Nv
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You can count the number of women on “India’s richest people” list on the fingers of one hand.

Forbes’ list of India’s 100 richest people in 2016 is topped by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani with a net worth of $22.7 billion (Rs1.51 lakh crore). It also includes several first-generation businessmen such as Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy ($1.9 billion), diamond jewelry designer Nirav Modi ($1.7 billion), and India’s newest billionaires, tech entrepreneurs Divyank and Bhavin Turakhia ($1.3 billion).

But only four women have made the cut. Of these, only one is a self-made billionaire: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman and managing director of biopharmaceutical company Biocon.

Forbes compiled this list using financial information obtained from the families, individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and regulatory agencies.

In 2015, of the 100 richest people in the US, 11 were women, according to Forbes. This figure was six for China.

Here’s where the wealthiest women in India stand in 2016, according to Forbes:

  • Savitri Jindal, the widow of Jindal Group founder OP Jindal, is the 19th richest Indian with a net worth of $5.3 billion.
  • Vinod Gupta, the widow of Havells founder Qimat Rai Gupta, is ranked 46th this year, along with her son Anil Rai Gupta. Their combined net worth is $2.5 billion.
  • Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the 65th richest person in India with a net worth of $1.8 billion.
  • Leena Tiwari, the heir to pharma firm USV India, ranked 79th on the list with a net worth of $1.6 billion.

The daughter of a brewmaster at United Breweries, Mazumdar-Shaw started Biocon India in 1978 at the age of 25 with a seed capital of just Rs10,000. Her first office was the garage of her rented house in Bengaluru. Today, Biocon is Asia’s largest producer of insulin and is aiming for a 10% share of the global market, according to Forbes.

But in a country of 1.3 billion, it sure looks lonely at the top.