Last Updated on January 20, 2022
Women rarely feature in many publications about the wealthiest persons on earth. The focus is usually on men. That explains why names like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet tend to be more popular than Alice Walton and Jacqueline Mars.
However, the world isn’t short of female dollar-billionaires drawn from various walks of life.
The following are the top fifteen wealthiest women on earth and how they earned their fortune.
1. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers
|Birth Date:||July 10, 1953|
|Parents:||Andre Bettencourt and Liliane Bettencourt|
|Birth Place:||Neuilly-sur-Seine, France|
|Net Worth:||$76.6 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||L’Oréal|
Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers is a French heiress who is the only daughter of Liliane Betterncourt. Born on July 10, 1953, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Françoise is the reigning L’Oréal heiress following her mother’s death in 2017. She is also a board member of L’Oréal.
Besides her involvements with L’Oréal, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers is also an acclaimed writer. She has authored numerous Bible commentaries, including the commentary titled ‘A Look at the Bible.’
2. Alice Walton
|Birth Date:||July 10, 1949|
|Parents:||Sam Walton and Helen Walton|
|Birth Place:||Newport, Arkansas|
|Net Worth:||$63.5 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Walmart|
Alice Walton is the reigning heiress of the Walmart fortune. She is a member of the Walton Family, which is considered the wealthiest non-royal family on the planet.
When her father passed on, Alice received a 13% stake in Walmart through ‘the Walton Family Holdings Trust and Walton Enterprises.’ Since 1993, Walton has earned approximately $7 billion in stock sales and dividends from the giant retail corporation. In 2016, she reportedly owned a staggering $11 billion worth of Walmart shares.
3. Julia Margaret Flesher Koch
|Birth Date:||April 12, 1962|
|Birth Place:||Des Moines, Iowa|
|Net Worth:||$62 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Koch Industries|
Julia Margaret Flesher Koch is another billionaire on this list who became insanely wealthy courtesy of inheritance money. Koch is the widow of billionaire tycoon David Koch, whom she married in 1996 until his passing away in 2019.
When David Koch passed on in August 2019, Julia Flesher and her children inherited a whopping 42% stake in David’s company, Koch Industries.
4. MacKenzie Scott
|Birth Date:||April 7, 1970|
|Parents:||Jason Baker Tuttle and Holiday Tuttle|
|Birth Place:||San Francisco, California|
|Net Worth:||$54.4 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Amazon|
MacKenzie Scott is best known for being the wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos from 1993 until their divorce in 2019. At the time of their divorce, MacKenzie received 20 million shares of Amazon. On July 13, 2020, she became the world’s wealthiest woman after Amazon shares hit $3,300.
Scott would have maintained her status as the richest woman on the planet, were it not for her philanthropic endeavors. MacKenzie is a signee of ‘The Giving Pledge’ and has donated billions to the fund. In 2020 alone, she donated $6 billion to the foundation.
5. Jacqueline Mars
|Birth Date:||October 10, 1939|
|Parents:||Forrest Mars, Sr. and Audrey Ruth Mars|
|Birth Place:||United Kingdom|
|Net Worth:||$42 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Mars, Inc.|
Jacqueline Mars is the daughter of Forrest Edward Mars, Sr., the co-founder of the American popular candy company Mars, Inc. Although Mars doesn’t hold any significant position in the company, she currently commands a 1/3 stake, the rest of which is owned by her brother and four nieces.
In 2015, Mars, Inc. generated a revenue of $35 billion. Going by Mars’ stake in the company, it’s safe to assume that she took home approximately $12 billion that year.
6. Yang Huiyan
|Birth Date:||July 20, 1981|
|Parents:||Yang Guoqiang and Yang Yanchi|
|Birth Place:||Shunde District, Foshan, China|
|Net Worth:||$30.6 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Country Garden Holdings|
Yang Huiyan holds numerous titles as far as her net worth is concerned. Huiyan is currently the youngest female billionaire as well as the richest woman in Asia.
The Cypriot-Chinese billionaire businesswoman is the daughter of Yang Guoqiang, the founder of Country Garden Holdings. Guoqiang transferred 70% of Country Garden Holdings’ holdings to her daughter before the company’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2007.
7. Laurene Powell Jobs
|Birth Date:||November 6, 1963|
|Birth Place:||Milford, New Jersey|
|Net Worth:||$30 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Apple and Disney|
Laurene Powell Jobs is an American businesswoman who’s the founder and executive of Emerson Collective, an organization that advocates for reforms in the social justice, education, immigration, and environmental conservation sectors. But you probably already know her as the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
When Jobs died in 2011, Laurene inherited much of his wealth and became one of the richest women on earth. At the time of his death, Jobs had a $2 billion equity in Apple and $8 billion worth of shares in Disney, among other major investments.
8. Susanne Klatten(born Susanne Hanna Ursula Quandt)
|Birth Date:||April 28, 1962|
|Parents:||Herbert Quandt and Johanna Quandt|
|Birth Place:||Bad Homburg, Germany|
|Net Worth:||$28.1 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Altana, BMW, and SGL|
For some time, Johanna Quandt was listed among the wealthiest women on the planet. But when Johanna passed away in 2015, her daughter Susanne Klatten almost immediately took over from her after inheriting a huge portion of her wealth.
Susanne currently owns about 20% of renowned luxury automaker BMW, as well as 27% of SGL Carbon, 23% of Nordex, 40% of Entrust Datacard, and majority stakes of chemical company Altana. And needless to mention, Klatten is also Germany’s wealthiest female billionaire.
9. Gina Rinehart (born Georgina Hope Hancock)
|Birth Date:||February 9, 1954|
|Parents:||Lang Hancock and Hope Margaret Nicholas|
|Birth Place:||Perth, Australia|
|Net Worth:||$23.9 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Hancock Prospecting|
Gina Rinehart is an Australian mining magnate and heiress who’s the current Executive Chairwoman of Hancock Prospecting Group, a privately-owned mineral exploration and mining company that she inherited from her father. She owns approximately 70% of the Roy Hill iron ore project in Pilbara, Western Australia, 18% of Lakes Oil, and 8% of Ten Network Holdings.
In 2010, Rinehart embarked on an investment spree that saw her acquire significant stakes in media organizations. She became the largest shareholder in Fairfax Media and one of the majority stakeholders in Ten Network Holdings.
10. Iris Fontbona
|Age:||(78 – 79 years)|
|Parents:||Luis Alberto Fontbona Buxalleux and Emma González Morales|
|Birth Place:||Antofagasta, Chile|
|Net Worth:||$23.7 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Antofagasta Plc.|
Iris Fontbona is a Chilean businesswoman who became wealthy after inheriting a huge chunk of her husband, Andrónico Luksic’s, wealth following his death in 2005.
Luksic founded one of the world’s largest copper mining companies known as Antofagasta, and Fontbona reportedly owns 65% of the company. She also owns majority stakes in the company Quinenco, as well as the Croatian resort chain Playa Laguna.
11. Abigail Pierrepont Johnson
|Birth Date:||December 19, 1961|
|Parents:||Edward Johnson III and Elizabeth Johnson|
|Birth Place:||Boston, Massachusetts|
|Net Worth:||$20.9 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Fidelity Investments|
Abigail Johnson is an American billionaire businesswoman who has served as the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the American investment company Fidelity Investments (FMR). The company was founded by her grandfather Edward C. Johnson II, and the Johnson family are its greatest shareholders.
As of March 2013, the Johnson family owned 45% of Fidelity Investments. At the time, Abigail owned an estimated 24.5%.
12. Zhong Huijuan
|Birth Date:||April 1961|
|Birth Place:||Lianyungang, China|
|Net Worth:||$20 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Hansoh Pharmaceutical|
Zhong Huijuan is a Chinese pharmaceutical executive and the only self-made billionaire on this list. Huijuan is the founder, chair, and CEO of Hansoh Pharmaceutical, the company that manufactures various types of drugs, including psychoactive, antidiabetic, and oncology drugs. Huijuan is also Hansoh’s majority shareholder, commanding up to 66% stake in the company.
In addition to Hansoh Pharmaceutical, a significant portion of Huijuan’s wealth also comes from marrying pharmaceutical billionaire Sun Piaoyang. Piaoyang is the current head of Hengrui Medicine.
13. Wu Yajun
|Age:||(56 – 57 years)|
|Birth Place:||Chongqing, China|
|Net Worth:||$18 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Longfor Properties|
Wu Yajun is another self-made billionaire on this list and incidentally, she also happens to be Chinese. Wu was, at one time, the wealthiest self-made woman on the planet, a title that’s presently held by Zhong Huijuan.
Yajun is best known as the co-founder, chairperson, and former CEO of Longfor Properties. She established the real estate giant company in 1993 with her ex-husband Cai Kui. Yajun has also invested heavily in numerous technology companies, including Evernote and Uber.
14. Fan Hongwei
|Age:||(53 – 54 years)|
|Birth Place:||Lianyungang, China|
|Net Worth:||$16.8 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Hengli Petrochemical|
Fan Hongwei is a Chinese billionaire who currently serves as the chairperson of the chemical fiber supplier Hengli Petrochemical. Hongwei is married to Chen Jianhua who’s the current chairman of Hengli’s holding company.
Fan also joins the list of self-made billionaires as she earned much of her wealth courtesy of sound investments over the years. She previously worked as an accountant before becoming an investor.
15. Lu Zhongfang
|Age:||(78 – 79 years)|
|Net Worth:||$16.4 billion|
|Source of Wealth:||Offcn Education Technology|
Lu Zhongfang is best known for investing in Offcn Education Technology, a test preparation company that offers its services to over 3 million students annually. Based in Beijing, Offcn provides training to teachers and civil servants across hundreds of cities in China.
Zhongfang is a majority shareholder in Offcn. In 2019, the company posted annual revenue of 9.2 billion Yuan ($1.3 billion). That was the same year the company was listed in the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
The Bottom Line
One thing that stands out from the above list is that a majority of the world’s richest women also happen to be heiresses. But there’s also a good number who earned their billions through their own efforts.