There are still many people in the world who have not heard of Isabel dos Santos. At 45 years of age, she is Africa’s richest woman. She is the daughter of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Her net worth may be greater than three billion US dollars. She also holds the distinction of being Africa’s first woman billionaire.
The reality is that being a business woman in a world dominated by men is not easy. This is especially true for African women. She does not mind sharing how she keeps moving forward despite all of the challenges. For one, her father and other men in her life inspired and supported her growth as a business leader. Even though she is successful, she acknowledges that an education is still rare for African girls. Her family never programmed her to believe that women have limitations.
As such, Isabel dos Santos chose to study engineering in college. There was only one other girl in her class. Her college training and family support gave her the background to be confident and competitive in life. She can also contribute a part of her success to the fact she married an African husband who is also highly supportive. He gives her the space and time she needs to commit to success. She mentions that he is also a great father to their four children. Her work has required her to be absent a great deal of time with long work schedules and trips overseas.
There are few women peers in the world of Isabel. Prejudice and discrimination exists. She has witnessed the bias up close and personal. There are times when her male lawyer accompanies her and the other party looks to her lawyer for input as if he is the CEO of her company. Other people sometimes second-guess Isabel dos Santos because she is a woman.
Isabel dos Santos also runs across challenges at times being the only black individual in the room. She is also aware that many countries view Africa in a negative and poor way. This can limit an influx of business at times. She encourages others looking to start a business to consider things they are good at. This is usually where opportunity for business success lies.
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