The Number of Richest Women in the World Continues to Grow
Women are rarely the first image one conjures when hearing the word billionaire — after all, 11 men have more money than the richest woman in the world. But the number of female billionaires is rising, with 241 in 2020 and 328 in 2021.
While most of the richest women in the world inherited at least some of their money, there are also a few self-made billionaires on this list.
32. Denise Coates
Born: United Kingdom, Sept. 26, 1967
Denise Coates is the world's highest-paid female CEO and one of the wealthiest women in the U.K. She is the founder and co-CEO of Bet365 online gambling company and owns about half of the company. What's more, the Denise Coates Foundation donates to a variety of charities in areas such as health, education and humanitarian causes.
* Note: These figures are accurate as of Jan. 31, 2023.
31. Cheng Xue
Born: China, 1970
Cheng Xue owns a 9 percent stake in soy sauce manufacturer Foshan Haitian Flavouring, for which she is the vice chair. In 2021, she was named the highest-paid corporate chieftain by the inaugural "Hurun China Richest Professional Managers 2021" report.
30. Zhao Yan
Born: China, 1966
Zhao Yan is the founder of Bloomage International Investment Group and the chair of skincare company Bloomage Biotechnology. She also holds interests in real estate, finance and sports. Of note, she was named the 2021 China Economic Person of the Year.
28. Zhou Qunfei and Family (Tie)
Born: China, 1970
Zhou Qunfei is the founder and chair of smartphone screen supplier Lens Technology. In 2018, she was named the richest self-made woman billionaire in the world, after already being named the richest woman in China in 2015.
28. Massimiliana Landini Aleotti and Family (Tie)
Born: Italy, Aug. 7, 1942
Along with her three children, Massimiliana Landini Aleotti inherited the pharmaceutical company Menarini from her husband after his passing. Interestingly, she is known for converting part of her factory in Florence to produce disinfectant gel for hospitals during the COVID pandemic.
27. Jian Jun
Born: China, 1963
Jian Jun is the chair of biomedical supplier IMeik Technology Development. Quite impressively, her company saw shares increase more than 500 percent less than four months after their initial listing on the stock exchange.
26. Nancy Walton Laurie
Born: United States, May 15, 1951
Nancy Walton Laurie is an heir to the Walmart fortune. While she inherited stock from her father, Bud Walton, she also owns a horse breeding farm and the Columbia Performing Arts Centre in Columbia, Missouri.
But she's especially known for her philanthropy work. With her husband, she donated $25 million to the University of Missouri for a new sports arena for the Missouri Tigers and endowed the E. Paige Laurie Professorship for the Equine Center at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She also founded the Nancy Walton Laurie Leadership Institute for the Chi Omega sorority.
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25. Wang Laichun
Born: China, 1967
One of the youngest, self-made women billionaires, Wang Laichan is co-owner and chair of the electronics connector company Luxshare Precision Industry, which, among other things, makes AirPods for Apple. After working for Foxconn for 10 years, she bought Luxshare with her brother.
24. Blair Parry-Okeden
Born: United States, 1950
An American-born, Australian billionaire, Blair Parry-Okeden inherited 25 percent of Atlanta-based communications, automotive and media company Cox Enterprises from her mother. She was named Australia’s richest person in 2016.
28. Ann Walton Kroenke (Tie)
Born: United States, Dec. 18, 1948
Sister of Nancy Walton Laurie, Ann Walton Kroenke is another heiress to the Walmart fortune. She also inherited stock from her father, Bud Walton, and invested heavily in Colorado sports.
She now owns the Denver Nuggets NBA team and Colorado Avalanche NHL team.
22. Zhong Huijuan (Tie)
Born: China, April 1961
Zhong Huijuan is co-founder, chair and two-thirds owner of Hansoh Pharmaceutical. In most recent news, her company was part of a 2022 partnership with the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute to develop an oral COVID treatment.
21. Zheng Xhuliang and Family
Born: China, 1946
Zheng Shuliang is the widow of aluminum manufacturer China Hongqiao Group founder Zhang Shiping, who died in 2019. She currently serves as executive vice chairman of the board.
20. Kirsten Rausing
Born: Sweden, June 6, 1952
Kirsten Rausing owns a third of the packaging company TetraLaval and has a seat on the board. She and her brothers also own a stake in International Flavors & Fragrances.
Equestrian pursuits are her true passion, though, as she also runs a stud farm in the U.K., where she lives. Rausing is a member of the Jockey Club, director of the British Bloodstock Agency and was formerly a director of The National Stud.
19. Christy Walton
Born: United States, Feb. 8, 1949
Christy Walton's husband, John T. Walton, was the son of Sam Walton, Walmart's founder. After her husband's death in 2005, she inherited about a sixth of her husband's estate, which included shares in Walmart and First Solar. At one time, she was the richest woman in the world.
She's also one of the largest backers of the Lincoln Project, an American political action committee. In 2010, she was named the highest female philanthropist, having given away $3.5 billion between 2002 and 2005.
18. Yang Huiyan and Family
Born: China, 1981
Yang Huiyan inherited 57 percent of the real estate company Country Garden Holdings from her father and serves as co-chair of the company. At one time, she was the richest woman in Asia.
She is also chair of Bright Scholar Education Holdings.
17. Wu Yajun
Born: China, 1964
Wu Yajun is the co-founder and chair of real estate developer Longfor Properties. After her divorce, she retained a 45 percent stake in the company. She also invested in Uber and Evernote.
She's one of the world’s richest self-made women, and in 2012, she became the richest woman in China.
16. Laurene Powell Jobs and Family
Born: United States, Nov. 6, 1963
The widow of Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs amassed her billions through the Steven P. Jobs Trust. After his death, she inherited shares in The Walt Disney Company and 38.5 million shares of Apple Inc.
She is also the founder and chair of Emerson Collective and XQ Institute. The Emerson Collective supports social entrepreneurs in areas such as education and immigration reform; it also owns The Atlantic and part of Axios. She is also a co-founder of College Track, which works to help underserved students attain a college degree, and she launched XQ:The Super School Project to improve high school education.
15. Diane Hendricks
Born: United States, 1947
Diane Hendricks co-founded ABC Supply, a wholesale distributor of roofing, siding and windows with her husband and has run it since his death in 2007. She also expanded the company by acquiring rival Bradco and distributor L&W Supply.
Her entrepreneurial spirit has spurred local economic development, largely through rebuilding entire blocks of Beloit, Wisconsin, and bringing new business to the state.
14. Charlene de Carvalho-Heiniken
Born: Netherlands, June 30, 1954
How Charlene de Carvalho-Heiniken amassed her billions: Charlene de Carvalho-Heiniken inherited a 25 percent controlling interest in Heineken from her father. She also is an executive director of the Dutch brewing company.
Of note, the biannual Heineken Prize for cognitive science is named after her.
13. Kwong Siu-hing
Born: China, Dec. 2, 1929
As the matriarch of the Kwok family, she controls Sun Hung Kai Properties, one of the largest property developers in Hong Kong. That means she is the largest shareholder of the company her late husband co-founded.
12. Renáta Kellnerová and Family
Born: Czech Republic, July 4, 1967
The widow of Petr Kellner, Renáta Kellnerová and her children control PFF Group, a Czech conglomerate with investments in financial services, telecommunications, media and real estate.
But she's especially known for her support for education. Kellnerová co-founded the Educa Foundation to provide scholarships for the Open Gate Grammar and Primary School in Babice as well as The Kellnew Family Foundation, which supports education throughout the Czech Republic.
11. Savitri Jindal and Family
Born: India, March 20, 1950
The widow of Jindal Group founder Om Prakash Jindal, Savitri Jindal serves as chair of the group, while the steel, power, cement and infrastructure companies were divided among their four sons who run them independently.
She is the richest woman in India and was formerly a minister in the Haryana Government as well as a member of the legislative assembly from Hisar.
10. Abigail Johnson
Born: United States, Dec. 19, 1961
Abigail Johnson is the granddaughter of Edward C. Johnson II, the founder of Fidelity Investments. As such, she inherited shares in Fidelity and has been president and CEO since 2014 as well as chair of its sister company Fidelity International. In 2016, she added chairman to her job titles.
She began work at the company as an analyst and portfolio manager and moved up to CEO. She's particularly known for introducing cryptocurrency investment to Fidelity and is the first woman to serve on the board of the Financial Services Forum.
9. Iris Fontbona and Family
Born: Chile, 1942
Along with her children, Iris Fontbana inherited her husband’s mining and beverage businesses. They also own a majority stake in Chilean conglomerate Quiñenco and control copper mining company Antofagasta Plc.
She's the wealthiest person in Chile, and in 2015, she donated a record amount to the Chilean Telethon to help children with physical disabilities.
8. Susanne Klatten
Born: Germany, April 28, 1962
Susanne Klatten inherited 50.1 percent of the pharmaceutical and chemical company Altana from her father. After the pharmaceutical division was sold, she bought up the remaining shares of Altana and now wholly owns the company as well as SKion. She also inherited about 19 percent of BMW.
She sits on Altana's supervisory board and helped lead the company to the German DAX top 30 companies list.
7. Mackenzie Scott
Born: United States, April 7, 1970
Along with her husband Jeff Bezos, Mackenzie Scott was involved in the founding of Amazon. Their 2019 divorce left her with $35.6 billion in Amazon stock.
Like many other women on this list, Scott is especially interested in philanthropy. She made the Giving Pledge to give away at least half of her wealth to charity and has been consistent in following through on this pledge, causing her to drop lower on the list of wealthiest women each year. Her donations are notable because, unlike many others, they are unrestricted. She is also a novelist; her debut novel, "The Testing of Luther Albright," won an American Book Award.
6. Gina Rinehart
Born: Australia, Feb. 9, 1954
Gina Rinehart took over the financially strapped Hancock Prospecting company at the time of her father’s death in 1992 and turned it into the largest private company in Australia. Then, she expanded her holdings into other industries, including cattle, and she's now the second-largest cattle producer in Australia. Hancock Range is named in honor of her family.
While most of her billions come from her success with Hancock Prospecting and her cattle business, she also made money investing in media companies.
5. Miriam Adelson
Born: Israel, Oct. 10, 1945
As the widow of former CEO and chairman of Las Vegas Sands, Sheldon Adelson, Miriam Adelson owns more than half of the company, which also has casinos in Singapore and Macao.
A doctor by trade, she and her husband opened the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G Adelson Research Clinic, a substance abuse center and research clinic, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The couple also received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship and were large donors to President Trump’s campaigns. In 2018, Trump presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
4. Jacqueline Mars
Born: United States, Oct. 10, 1939
Jacqueline Mars is the daughter of Forrest Mars Sr. and granddaughter of Frank Mars, both founders of Mars Incorporated. As such, she holds shares in the famous confection company.
She's particularly known for her community engagement and is a trustee for the U.S. Equestrian Team. She also supports the League of Conservation Voters and received the inaugural Heritage Award from the Foundation for the National Archives.
3. Alice Walton
Born: United States, Oct. 7, 1949
Another Walmart heiress on this list, Alice Walton is the daughter of the company's founder, Sam Walton, and she owns 1,294 billion shares in the company. She began her career in investing as an equity analyst and money manager and even founded her own investment bank, helping fund the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.
Over the years, she has put her money to good use and contributed to causes important to her, including significant political donations. She also founded the Alice L. Walton Foundation, which promotes arts, education, health and economic opportunity, and the Whole Health Institute, which works to expand access to holistic healthcare.
2. Julia Koch and Family
Born: United States, April 12, 1962
Julia Koch inherited her fortune from her late husband, David Koch, co-owner of Wichita, Kansas-headquartered Koch Industries.
But Julia's career path was in fashion. A former model, she worked as an assistant for fashion designer Adolfo and did fittings for Nancy Reagan. In 1997, she co-chaired the Met Gala with Anna Wintour and Patrick McCarthy.
1. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers
Born: France, July 10, 1953
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers became the richest woman in the world upon the death of her mother, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. But Meyers had to go through legal matters to ensure her mother's money stayed in the family in what was dubbed "The Bettencourt Affair." When Meyers' mother began giving millions in assets to a new “friend,” Meyers filed a lawsuit and was named co-guardian of her mother’s interests, along with her two sons.
Meyers’ personal achievements also include several Bible commentaries and a genealogy of Greek gods.