100 years of power

From Mary Pickford to Carly Fiorina, the most powerful businesswomen by decade.

Elizabeth Arden (1878-1966)
Elizabeth Arden (1878-1966)
Founder, Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics

Born Florence Nightingale Graham in Canada, Arden trained as a nurse but switched to business, opening her first salon in 1910 (and taking the name that made her famous). By 1920, when she broke into the European market, she had developed more than 100 skincare and makeup products; the following decade, she successfully branched out into fragrances. Arden played an important role in making it respectable for women to wear makeup, and she created products suitable for women of all ages.

"There is no reason," she liked to say, "for a woman to lose even one iota of her beauty" over time. That philosophy built what is now a billion-dollar business.

Mary Pickford

C.J. Walker

Elizabeth Arden

Lila Acheson Wallace

Mary Gindhart Roebling

Olive Ann Beech

Margaret Rudkin

Ida Rosenthal

Ruth Handler

Estée Lauder

Katharine Graham

Catherine Cleary

Linda Wachner

Carly Fiorina
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