5 Filipino women make it to Forbes ‘50 Over 50 Asia’ list

A peace negotiator who champions gender inclusivity, an actress who rose to international fame after becoming the first Filipino nominated for a Golden Globe, and three corporate leaders represented the Philippines list.

Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

Philippine Daily Inquirer


Compilation of photos of the women on the list. PHOTO: COLLECTED/ PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

January 18, 2024

MANILA – A peace negotiator who champions gender inclusivity, an actress who rose to international fame after becoming the first Filipino nominated for a Golden Globe, and three corporate leaders in the retail, health, and property sectors.

These five women of distinction represented the Philippines in the latest “Forbes 50 Over 50 Asia” list.

The annual list, the third to be released by the global media company, recognized 50 women aged over 50 years old who have excelled in their respective fields, including fashion, pharmaceuticals, finance, and the arts. The women in this year’s selection hail from 14 countries and territories across Asia-Pacific.

Peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer is among the five Filipino women shortlisted. The retired University of the Philippines professor received in November last year the Ramon Magsaysay Award for promoting peace and inclusivity.

“During the 1970s, she fought against martial rule and became a key figure in resolving post-dictatorship armed conflicts,” Forbes said of Coronel-Ferrer, 64. In 2020, she also co-founded the Southeast Asian Women Peace Mediators, which advocates for sustainable peace.

Film star, retail boss

Also on the list is Dolly de Leon, 54, an actress globally known for her role as Abigail in the critically acclaimed 2022 movie “Triangle of Sadness,” which earned her nominations from the British Academy Film Awards and Golden Globes.

She bagged awards for this role in the London Critics Circle Film Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, and the National Society of Film Critics Awards, among others.

In the local film industry, De Leon, the first Filipino member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, recently starred in “A Very Good Girl” with actress Kathryn Bernardo. The box-office hit earned over P100 million in about two weeks of its theatrical release.

Forbes also recognized 66-year-old Susan Co who, together with her husband Lucio, founded the supermarket chain Puregold. The power couple, who have a combined net worth of $2.3 billion, are behind the operations of over 300 Puregold stores across the country.

Ranked among the country’s richest, Co also serves as vice chair of Cosco Capital, a company engaged in commercial real estate and liquor distribution. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce from the University of Santo Tomas.

Linkages, real estate

From the health technology sector, Medilink CEO and president Esther Go, 52, also made the list. Her company provides a digital platform that links insurers, health-care providers, and patients with services, including claim processing and payments.

Go also sits on the board of several companies such as Equicom Health Services, Equicom Savings Bank, and Security Bank. She holds a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Harvard University.

Forbes also cited the accomplishments of Anna Ma. Margarita Dy, the first female CEO of property developer Ayala Land.\

“Her rise comes as the company — the real estate arm of the Ayala Group, a conglomerate controlled by billionaire Jaime Zobel de Ayala and his family — accelerates the launch of residential projects to meet surging housing demand,” Forbes said.

Before this year’s accolade, Forbes Asia also named the 54-year-old Dy as one of Asia’s Power Businesswomen in 2023, a roster that included 20 female leaders across Asia-Pacific. Dy got her MBA also from Harvard University.

In the 2023 edition of Forbes 50 over 50, Kickstart Ventures cofounder and president Minette Navarrete was the sole Filipino woman who made the list. Kickstart is a venture capital firm supporting startups in the country.

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