Episode: 4
The Feminine Touch

Premiered on: 23 February 2013 01:30 GMT

Many statistics point to ever more women playing a role in wealth creation and business, but there are still huge barriers to overcome.

This episode profiles some of the new female rich and asks how conscious they are of their gender, and whether they behave differently from the old male “wealth club”. We look at three extraordinary women who have beaten the odds to make their fortunes and see what they have put back into the community?

Facts and Figures

The growing feminisation of wealth

The number of Female Ultra High Net Worth Individuals

See the full Infographic

Featured article

The Feminine Touch

Women represent an increasing proportion of the global wealthy, either in their own right, from inheritance or from divorce (Slavica Ecclestone is worth over $1.1 billion!). When Forbes released the 2012 list of billionaires, there were 21 women billionaires in the world with a combined total net worth of $248.6 billion. And rising female wealth is not a purely western phenomenon – according to Bloomberg, one third of Chinese millionaires are female and the nation has 11 of the world’s 20 richest self-made women.


Women will inherit 70% of the $41 trillion in intergenerational wealth transfer expected over the next 40 years.”

Boston College’s Center
on Wealth and Philanthropy

Unarguably there is still a very long way to go before true equality is reached. The World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report calculated that women represented 40% of the world’s labour force but held just 1% of the world’s wealth. Nevertheless, the report found, “Since 1980, female participation rate at each level of income has increased sharply”. As birth rates fall, discrimination decreases and educational opportunities improve and THUS the growing feminisation of wealth seems likely to continue. The World Bank report claimed women now account for more than half the world’s university students. And according to Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, women will inherit 70% of the $41 trillion in intergenerational wealth transfer expected over the next 40 years.

Will this shift produce any change in the behaviour of the wealthy? Women tend to donate more of their wealth than men do. The 2009 Barclays Wealth study, Tomorrow’s Philanthropist, showed that women in the U.S. give an average of 3.5% of their wealth to charity, while men give an average of 1.8%.

Read the full article

About the Programme

Changing Fortunes is a co-production by D&E and Films of Record for BBC World News. To film the series we visited the home cities and workplaces of the global wealthy, with interview locations across Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe.

The series director is the award winning filmmaker James Rogan. James’s credits include the six part documentary series Warship for Channel Five whilst his latest feature documentary Amnesty! When They Are All Free is his third for BBC Storyville. Changing Fortunes Executive Producers are Marc Heal for D&E, who originally conceived the series, and the award winning filmmaker and writer Roger Graef OBE, for Films of Record.

The series is broadcast on BBC World News at the following times:
Saturdays at 0130 and 1530 GMT
Sundays at 0930 and 2030 GMT

To find viewing times in your location please go to the BBC World News schedule page