These Are The World's Richest Women

Photo: Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.
Alex and Ani founder Carolyn Rafaelian.
If you ever wondered what the collective wealth of the richest people on the planet might be, look to Forbes, which just released its annual ranking of the world’s billionaires.
The 2,208 people on the list are worth $9.1 trillion, and billionaire business is good: the sum of the group's wealth is up 18% from a year ago, the magazine says.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos leads the group with a net worth of $112 billion, and Walmart heiress Alice Walton (worth $46 billion) is the world’s wealthiest woman. Last year, that honor went to Liliane Bettencourt, the French heiress and principal shareholder of L'Oreal.
Advertisement
While the list is a yearly reminder of the gender disparity in wealth (and the fact that the gender pay gap continues to be problematic), there are a number of women on this year's list. More women (256) secured a place on this year’s list, and most of them inherited their riches, but the number of self-made women rose to 72 this year, up from 56 last year.
Some of those self-starters are familiar entrepreneurs or run household-name companies, like Spanx founder Sara Blakely, Alex and Ani CEO Carolyn Rafaelian, and Little Caesars Pizza cofounder Marian Ilitch. Yoshiko Shinohara, the founder of Temp Holdings, who became Japan's first self-made billionaire last year, reappears this year, as does Lens Technology founder and CEO Zhou Qunfei. (Zhou is currently the wealthiest self-made woman in the world.)
Curious where the world's wealth is concentrated? Two-thirds of the world's wealthiest self-made women are from the U.S. and China. (Overall, "on this year's list, the billionaires hail from 72 countries and territories." Hungary and Zimbabwe are represented for the first time.)
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.