Even though many facets of global society have made tangible progress in the area of women’s empowerment, when it comes to the issue of women in the workplace many industries and companies have a very long way to go. According to CNN Money less than 15 percent (14.2 percent to be exact) of the businesses that comprise the S&P 500 have women occupying the top five leadership spots. According to the Center for American Progress women working in the world of technology in Silicon Valley occupy just 14 percent of “senior management” positions at startups based in the area.
Thankfully people in the world of business are stepping up to do something about increasing the number of women who are able to hold senior leadership positions. By now many people are probably familiar with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book and campaign aimed at encouraging women to “lean in” and demand what they deserve in the contemporary workplace. But long before the world was inspired by Sandberg’s message about encouraging women to take control of their careers, businesswoman Malini Saba was taking the world of investment by storm.
Malini Saba is a Sri Lankan businesswoman who currently serves as the Chairman of Saban. Her company makes investments in the Chinese oil and gas industry, the South Asian and Australian real estate markets and the American technology sector. The world of venture capital is well known for struggling with diversity. Despite this Malini made inroads in the sector by starting with an avid interest in investment. As a young woman she lived near Stanford University where her husband attended school. She broke into the world of venture capital by attending lectures at Stanford where she could connect with people who were fixtures in the world of venture capital. Even though she wasn’t a student she boldly asked investors for their advice and would later take money that she had been storing away and direct it towards investing. Malini would go on to become a venture capitalist with investments in companies like Netscreen Technologies, Inc. and PayPal Inc.
Today Malini is paying her success in the world of venture capital forward by getting involved with philanthropy. She is the founder of a non-profit organization known as Stree: Global Investments In Women that is charged with the mission of creating social change for women and children around the world. Her non-profit has worked to help empower women in Europe, India and Central America. Recently Stree: Global Investments In Women has awarded scholarships to girls in the West African nation of Ghana, supported people devastated by an earthquake in the Latin American nation of Ecuador and donated tents and blankets to homeless individuals in New York City.