Have you ever noticed that some of the most powerful and wealthy women in the world have short hair? A great example is Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign. If you notice, Hillary’s hair was often shoulder length or longer until right before she announced her campaign to run for the first female president of the United States. If you start to look deeper at some of the world’s wealthiest women you’ll also notice that many of them keep their hair well above their shoulders. Here a few examples:

  1. Liliane Bettencourt, founder of L’Oréal, one of the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty companies is on the list of wealthiest woman. She is worth over $24 billion. She decided to cut her hair at the end of World War I when short hairstyles became fashionable, and still has short hair today.
  2. Susanne Klatten inherited a stake in automaker BMW from late father Herbert Quandt and is worth thirteen billion dollars. She has made slight changes to her hair over the years, occasionally adding or removing a bang or part, but has always kept it quite short and strikingly blond.
  3. Rosalía Mera Goyenechea is one of the richest women in Spain and is listed on Forbes.com as one of the wealthiest people in the world. She is a clothing and lingerie designer whose net worth is $4.5 billion. Even with her sandy blond highlights, her hair has never been longer than a few inches!
  4.  Politician Mayawati is the President of the Bahujan Samaj Party in India and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s most populous and influential states. She is one of the most powerful women in the world. Her style remains masculine as she combs her hair back with a simple side part.

On the Forbes list of 100 most powerful women in the world, about two thirds of the women have short hair.  Could this be a coincidence? Certainly hair-length is not a measure of power. The US magazine has measured “power” as a composite of public profile, calculated using press mentions, and financial heft. So the question becomes why does short hair seem to go hand and hand with power?  Do women cut their hair on the road to success?

There are several possibilities.  There is a trend that encourages women to dress conservatively, wear only light make-up, and to wear little or no perfume in the business world. Perhaps the hair cut is among these features that tend toward masculine norms. Those more masculine tendencies are often more closely associated with authority. Additionally, long hair is often associated with beauty, as we see with most of our celebrities, actresses, singers, and models. Thus to distinguish themselves, businesswomen may opt for an alternative short look.  Some may even say that these powerful women prefer to keep their hair short just for the sake of convenience. As long hair requires more maintenance, the women in the corporate world choose something short for its ease. What have you found in your experience? Does short hair help you in your career?


Forbes.com, Economic Times

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