For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel's team of global category analysts.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked six of our female analysts from different parts of the world, covering differing categories, to pick one woman who has innovated, revolutionised or made a significant difference in their sector and has left a lasting impact on their work today.

Charlotte Libby – Global Colour Cosmetics and Fragrances Analyst:
Rihanna, singer and founder of Fenty Beauty

“The beauty industry has seen many inspirational female entrepreneurs, with Bobbi Brown, Sarah Breedlove and Anita Roddick among this list of powerful figures. A standout for me is Rihanna, who is using her celebrity status to draw attention to the lack of colour diversity in makeup with the launch of her Fenty Beauty range.

“The brand leads the industry to cater for a fuller spectrum of skin colours (40 shades), and has been celebrated for possessing an expert understanding of skin undertones. Fenty Beauty has created a new standard for base make-up; inclusivity is now expected and skin tones that were traditionally under-catered for can now more easily find their match.”

Joyce Lam – Trends Analyst, APAC:
Huabi Tao, founder of Laoganma Special Flavour Foodstuffs Co

“Huabi Tao is known as ‘the hottest woman in China’. Despite coming from one of China’s poorest provinces, Guizhou, and lacking much formal education, she was able to turn her small noodle shop into a business empire. It is now the globally-known chili sauce brand Lao Gan Ma, which literally translates into ‘old godmother’. Tao realised that her customers were not eating her noodles without her homemade chili paste. Seeing an opportunity, she soon closed the shop to completely focus on selling the spicy sauce. Two decades later, Lao Gan Ma is sold globally, and is a must-have condiment on people’s dinner tables.

“As well as her business acumen, Tao’s persistence, honesty and down-to-earth work ethic has earned her respect and recognition from the government and many young people across China. Even today, Lao Gan Ma’s production still runs in Guizhou, offering employment to thousands of people and generating income for many local farmers.”

Stephanie Mattucci – Global Food Science Analyst:
Women in STEM

“I think all women in science are inspirational. No matter what area of science they are in or how famous they are, scientists are making a difference in our lives. The scientists who have inspired me the most are two young college students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I don’t even know their names, but these young women volunteered their Saturday to show middle school girls like me around campus and show us what’s possible with a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“One of the careers they mentioned was food science. Not only was I amazed that creating new ice cream flavors was a real job, but seeing young women passionate about a career in science opened my eyes to what was possible. For me, and for so many girls and young women, getting a chance to meet women working in STEM fields at a young age helped shatter the stereotypes that STEM fields are only for men. I might not know their names and they certainly don’t know the impact they had on me, but those two college students inspired me to get started on an incredibly rewarding career path.”

Carli-Gernot---CircularChana Baram – Fashion Analyst, UK:
Elsa Schiaparelli, fashion designer

“I have chosen Elsa Schiaparelli, the fashion rival of Coco Chanel, as someone whose spark and creativity added so much to the fashion world. Schiaparelli was far more innovative and bold than any other fashion designer at the time. She famously teamed up with artists such as Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp to create surrealist fashion pieces. Schiap (as she was known), was the first designer to use zips as a decorative component, and the first female designer to grace the front cover of Time Magazine.

“She could also could be credited for starting a very early ‘athleisure’ movement with her ‘Pour le Sport’ collection, created at a time when women were expected to dress formally. The divided skirt (a very early take on tennis shorts) she created for the collection caused much controversy when worn by tennis player Lili de Alvarez at Wimbledon in 1931.”

Carli-Gernot---CircularStacy Bingle – Senior Consumer Trends Analyst, US:
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer

“The ratio of women to men who occupy business leadership roles is disproportionately low; of the Fortune 500 CEOs, only 27 are female. The tech industry sees a similarly low ratio overall, with only a quarter of US tech jobs being filled by women.

“As Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg has defied these odds, but what’s even more impressive than her own ambition is her passion for empowering other women around the world. Her influential books urge women to not just be bold in pursuing their own career goals, but also to open up in talking about emotional hardships. More recently, Sandberg launched the #MentorHer campaign to encourage senior leaders to mentor women.”

Jane Barnett – Head of Insights, South APAC:
Janine Allis, founder of Boost Juice

“There are many inspiring women making their mark on the food and drink industry, taking a simple product idea and turning it into a thriving business. In the late 90’s, Australian mum Janine Allis had a ‘light bulb’ moment, which led her to making juices and smoothies in her kitchen.

“From this humble beginning she launched Boost, a juice bar concept. It started with one store, then three, and now has over 500 stores in 15 countries. I love her attitude: in her own words ‘Boost has a can-do attitude. We don’t believe in the word ‘try’ because that means I’ll give myself permission not to succeed. You don’t try, you just do it’. And do it she did!”

Charlotte Libby is a Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel, covering the UK markets. She creates and insight articles on the core beauty markets including skincare, colour cosmetics and haircare.

Joyce Lam is a Trends Analyst at Mintel, focusing on capturing consumer behaviour for the Greater China market, as well as supporting the global Mintel Trends team to identify new consumer trends.

Stephanie Mattucci is a Global Food Science Analyst at Mintel. Prior to Mintel, Stephanie worked as a Food Scientist in R&D for an ingredients company in Chicago, where she specialized in seasoning product development and provided technical expertise to customers in the food industry.

Chana Baram is an analyst at Mintel writing reports for the retail sector. Chana previously worked as a category analyst at an international insight and market research company, focusing on the high-street fashion sector.

Stacy Bingle is a Consumer Trends Consultant at Mintel. Stacy joined Mintel in 2013 bringing with her an exciting blend of CPG, agency and marketing experience. Her time is spent traveling the US engaging clients across global CPG, Beauty and Financial Services in meaningful discussions around the consumer trends that will propel their businesses forward.

Jane Barnett is the Head of Insights in South APAC. During her time at Mintel, Jane has delivered tailored research and analysis covering the spaces of new product development, market appraisals, competitor evaluations and brand assessments across all industries.