That’s in line with plenty of other statistics from the rising power: it also boasts the most self-made female billionaires in the world. And while the boardrooms in China’s top companies lag in gender equity behind those in the European Union, United States, France, Norway and others, female senior executives seem to fare better. Though 126 of the top 300 companies in China lacked female board members (42%), only 31 of those companies lacked a female senior executive (10.3%) in February. One study by professors at the prestigious Chinese University in Hong Kong found a higher percentage of female CEOs in China (4.5%) than in the United States (4%).
China’s large portion of powerful women can be attributed in part to its rapid economic development, especially since the One Child Policy led Chinese parents to educate their sole children with a gender-neutral zeal.
A handful of the women on Fortune’s MPW list personify China’s ascent: Zhou Qunfei, the CEO of Lens Technology, grew up motherless in a tiny farming village, helping her family by raising pigs and ducks. She started her career as a teenager making watch parts in a Guangdong factory before opening the shop that would make her the world’s richest self-made woman. Dong Mingzhu of Gree Electric and Wang Fengying of Great Wall Motor boast similar stories, working their way up their respective companies from starting positions as saleswomen over the course of decades.Of course, it helps China’s case on the list that it is simply the largest country in the world, with more women to start companies and more companies for women to lead.The United Kingdom, which is home to far fewer women than China, boasts 10 of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Unlike other European countries such as France and Germany, which legislate boardroom gender quotas, the United Kingdom has elevated women in business without much government assistance. Part of that country’s success can be attributed to Helena Morrissey, the CEO of Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% Club, which has successfully pressured top male chairmen to diversify their boards. In fact, a number of the chairmen of companies with Fortune MPW executives—including Goldman Sachs International, GlaxoSmithKline, and EasyJet—are members of the 30% Club’s UK chapter.
France and India followed the United Kingdom in global MPW list representation, with four women on the list each. South Korea and Singapore both had three women on the list. Rounding off the list with one MPW each were: Taiwan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.
Here are the countries with three or more women on Fortune’s Global Most Powerful Women lists.