While there are hundreds of articles celebrating the wealthiest men in the world, you don't hear too much about the richest women in the world. But there are plenty of women who have billion-dollar portfolios to their name, and some of them have upwards of $50 billion in their bank accounts. These women are some of the most elite one-percenters in our society, and they have all come across their fortunes in vastly different ways.
1. Alice Walton
Estimated Net Worth: $56 Billion
Alice Walton is the richest woman in the world, and the ninth richest person in the world. She is the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and became one of the heiresses to his fortune. She owns over $11 billion in Walmart shares, and has an estimated net worth of $56 billion. Even though she is an heiress, Walton has always had an interest in finance. She started off her career as a money manager for First Commerce Corporation, and in 1988 she founded her own investment bank and dubbed it the Llama Company.
2. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers
Estimated Net Worth: $48.9 Billion
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers is the granddaughter of Eugène Schueller, the founder of L'Oreal. Her family still owns the company. As of 2020, her estimated net worth was $48.9 billion. She was dubbed the No. 1 richest woman in the world in 2019, but then Alice Walton surpassed her when her net worth grew by $10 billion in one year, according to Forbes. Bettencourt Meyers and her family own 33% of L'Oreal stock, and she has been on L'Oreal's board since 1997.
3. Julia Koch
Estimated Net Worth: $38.2Billion
Julia Flesher married billionaire David Koch in 1996, and when he passed away in 2019, Julia and their three children inherited a 42% stake in Koch Industries. Koch Industries is the second-largest privately owned company in the United States, and brought in $110 billion in revenue in 2018, so that gives you an idea of what they inherited. In 2020, Julia Koch's estimated net worth was $38.2 billion, making her the third richest woman in the world.
4. MacKenzie Bezos
Estimated Net Worth: $36 Billion
MacKenzie Bezos is the fourth richest woman in the world, and though she is an accomplished writer and Princeton graduate, she earned her billionaire ranking after her divorce settlement from her ex-husband, Jeff Bezos. For those who need a refresher, Bezos is the founder of Amazon. They were married from 1993 to 2019, which means they got hitched before Bezos launched his company. MacKenzie's settlement was $38 billion, which made her the 22nd richest person in the world that year. A month after receiving her settlement, MacKenzie signed Bill Gates' the Giving Pledge, which pledges at least half of her wealth to charity.
5. Jacqueline Mars
Estimated Net Worth: $24.7 Billion
Jacqueline Mars is the granddaughter of Frank C. Mars who founded the world's largest candy company, Mars, Incorporated. Their family company produces popular candy like Snickers, Twix, and 3 Musketeers. Even though she was set to inherit a fortune, Jacqueline wasn't an idle heiress. Instead she took part in the corporation. In 1982, she joined the company as the food product group president, and moved up the ranks until she retired in 2001. She now owns an estimated one third of Mars, giving her an estimated net worth of $24.7 billion.
6. Yang Huiyan
Estimated Net Worth: $22.2 Billion
Yang Huiyan is the richest woman in Asia, and she's only 38 years old. She's a real estate developer and the majority shareholder of Country Garden Holdings, whose headquarters are pictured here. The majority stake was transferred to her by her father in 2007.
7. Susanne Klatten
Estimated Net Worth: $16.8 Billion
Susanne Klatten is a German billionaire and the richest woman in Germany. Thanks to her estimated net worth of $16.8 billion, she is the seventh richest woman in the world. She is the heiress of BMW, and while her fortune is vast, her net worth went down by 20% in the last year, according to Forbes. In addition to her stakes in BMW, she also inherited a 50% stake in pharmaceutical manufacturer Altana after her father passed away.
8. Laurene Powell Jobs
Estimated Net Worth: $16.4 Billion
Laurene Powell Jobs is the widow and heir of Apple titan Steve Jobs. When he passed away in 2011, Laurene inherited his fortune, which included $11.1 billion in The Walt Disney Company stakes, and 38.5 million shares of Apple Inc. But Laurene has done a lot with her inherited wealth. For example, she is the founder of the philanthropic investment company Emerson Collective, which offers grants and investments to organizations leading the way in social reform. Laurene is currently the eighth richest woman in the world.
9. Abigail Johnson
Estimated Net Worth: $15.1 Billion
Abigail Johnson is the CEO of US investment firm Fidelity Investments, and is in charge of 45,000 employees worldwide. Her grandfather, Edward C. Johnson II, founded Fidelity, and the Johnson family still owns a 49% stake in the company, with Abigail owning about 24.5% of it. Prior to taking over the family business, Abigail graduated from college with an art history degree. But it looked like she wasn't overly serious about leading an artist's life, and went to complete an MBA at Harvard Business School. She immediately joined Fidelity as an analyst and portfolio manager, and quickly climbed her way up in the company.
10. Zhong Huijuan
Estimated Net Worth: $14.6 Billion
Zhong Huijuan is the 10th richest woman in the world and chairs Chinese drugmaker Hansoh Pharmaceutical. She owns over three quarters of that company, making her the 70th wealthiest person in the world. Huijuan is known as the richest self-made woman in Asia, as she first began her career as a former chemistry teacher. Her husband isn't a chump either; he also is a billionaire that chairs a pharmaceutical company — though he lands in 105th place when it comes to richest people in the world.
11. Charlene de Carvalho Heineken
Estimated Net Worth: $14.6 Billion
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken is the heiress of, you guessed it, Heineken International. It's the second-largest brewer in the world (right behind Belgian-Brazilian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev.) Charlene has a 25% controlling interest in the company, and it seems like she came from a family full of alcohol royalty. Her father was the grandson of Heineken founder Gerard Adriaan Heineken, and her mother came from a Kentucky family of bourbon whiskey distillers. The woman has a natural knack for selling alcohol.
12. Wu Yajun
Estimated Net Worth: $13.8 Billion
Wu Yajun is considered one of the world's richest self-made women, and she is the co-founder of Longfor Properties. Longfor Properties is an investment holding company that manages multiple subsidiaries that are in property investment and management. This was quite the U-turn away from her previous career. Before becoming an investor and a holding company owner, she was a journalist and editor at a newspaper. Her newspaper was controlled by the Construction Bureau of Chongqing Municipal Government, which helped her network and make connections that would come in handy when transitioning into real estate.
13. Gina Rinehart
Estimated Net worth: $13.1 Billion
Gina Rinehart is in the Top 20 richest women in the world, and is the heiress of an ire ore company founded by her father, Lang Hancock. As his only child and heir, she inherited a 76.6% share in the company when he passed away in 1992. She rapidly expanded the company as executive chairman, and also expanded her investments outside of the mining industry.
14. Kwong Siu-Hing
Estimated Net Worth: $12.3 Billion
Kwong Siu-hing is the widow of real estate mogul Kwok Tak-sen, who founded one of Hong Kong’s largest real estate companies, Sun Hung Kai Properties. Siu-Hing inherited his fortune when he passed away in 1990, and controls about 41.53% of the company's shares. Siu-Hing also had three sons with her late husband, and while her individual estimated net worth is $12 billion, it is believed her family's net worth is a whopping $40 billion.
15. Kirsten Rausing
Estimated Net Worth: $12.2 Billion
Kirsten Rausing is a Swedish billionaire, and the heiress to her grandfather's liquid food packaging company, Tetra Pak. While she sits on the board of Tetra Pak with her two brothers, she has since moved from Sweden to reside in Britain. As most wildly rich billionaires do, Rausing breeds horses on her own stud farm and is a member of the Jockey Club. As of 2020, her estimated net worth is $12.2 billion.
16. Kirsty Bertarelli
Estimated Net Worth: $11.5 Billion
Kirsty Bertarelli was former Miss UK in 1988, but became Britain's richest woman when she married Ernesto Bertarelli in 2000. He is a Swiss businessman who owned biotech company Serono, which he sold to Merck in 2007. His family has an estimated net worth of $11.5 billion, making them the fourth richest family in Switzerland. While Kirsty is a trustee of this vast family fortune, she has also worked on building her own career that doesn't rely on family money. In 2000 she dropped an international hit single called "Black Coffee" that she co-wrote, and that reached number one in the UK charts. She released a few more singles throughout the years.
17. Christy Walton
Estimated Net Worth: $8.7 Billion
Christy Walton is another heiress from the vast Walmart fortune. She inherited her billions from her late husband, John T. Walton, who was Walmart founder Sam Walton’s second son. She inherited about 2% of the company and split it with her son, which amounts to about an $8.7 billion individual net worth in 2020.
18. Denise Coates
Estimated Net Worth: $8.2 Billion
Denise Coates is a self-made billionaire. In 2000, she founded the online gambling firm Bet365, which offers sports betting and casino games. But this venture didn't come completely out of left field — her family owned brick and mortar betting shops called Provincial Racing, and she worked in them throughout her college years and adult life. Thanks to her brilliant idea, her net worth is estimated to be $8.2 billion as of 2020.
19. Ann Walton Kroenke
Estimated Net Worth: $7.8 billion
Ann Walton Kroenke is a Walmart heiress, and is the daughter of Bud Walton, co-founder of Walmart. When her father passed away in 1995, she and her younger sister Nancy inherited and split his stake in the company. This made them billionaires, even though they had to split the wealth. Thanks to her thick portfolio, Ann was able to buy a couple of sports teams. She is the owner of the NBA Denver Nuggets and the NHL Colorado Avalanche.
20. Salma Hayek
Estimated Net Worth: $7.1 Billion
Salma Hayek is a celebrated Academy Award nominated actor, and has an individual net worth of $100 million. But her family net worth shoots up to $7.1 billion thanks to her husband, Francois Pinault, who is the founder of the luxury goods company Kering. Some of the brands that Kering owns are Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
21. Nancy Walton Laurie
Estimated Net Worth: $6.9 Billion
Nancy Walton Laurie is another heir to the Walmart fortune. She is the younger daughter of Bud Walton, who was Walmart founder Sam Walton's brother and business partner. She split Bud's fortune with her older sister, Ann Walton Kroenke.
22. Katharine Rayner
Estimated Net Worth: $5.9 Billion
Katharine Rayner comes from an old American family that has established itself in government and 1% society. She is the heiress to Cox Enterprises, a privately held media empire that has branches in communications, automotive, and publishing industries. Her maternal grandfather was James M. Cox, who not only founded the conglomerate, but was also the 1920 Democratic presidential nominee with Franklin D. Roosevelt as his VP.
23. Savitri Jindal
Net Worth: $5.5 Billion
Savitri Jindal is the richest woman in India and became the chairwoman of the Jindal Group, a steel and power conglomerate, after her husband died in 2005. While she inherited her position, Jindal is an accomplished woman in her own right. She was a Minister in the Haryana government from 2005 until 2014, and when she took over her husband's company, she was able to quadruple its revenue.
24. Carrie Perrodo
Estimated Net Worth: $5.3 Billion
Carrie Perrodo is a Hong Kong-born French billionaire who inherited the Perenco oil and gas company after her husband died in 2006. Hubert Perrodo, her late husband, was the founder and sole owner of the Perenco group.
25. Janice McNair
Estimated Net Worth: $4 Billion
Janice McNair became the owner of the NFL team Houston Texans, which she inherited from her late husband and team founder Bob McNair when he passed away in 2018. She was the co-founder of the team, and has helped run it since its inception in 1999, making her one of 10 female NFL team owners in the country.
26. Margot Birmingham Perot
Estimated Net Worth: $4 Billion
Margot Birmingham Perot gave her husband a $1,000 check to start Electronic Data Systems, which he later sold to GM for a whopping $1.5 billion. She inherited their fortune after he passed away in 2019 after fighting leukemia.
27. Marian Ilitch
Estimated Net Worth: $3.8 Billion
Marian Ilitch co-founded Little Caesars Pizza in 1959 with her husband Mike Ilitch. She was also one of the original investors in Detroit's MotorCity Casino. In addition to that, she owns the baseball team the Detroit Tigers and the hockey team the Detroit Red Wings.
28. Meg Whitman
Estimated Net Worth: $3.4 Billion
Meg Whitman is best known for being the CEO of eBay for over a decade, where she famously increased the revenue from $5.7 million to $8 billion annually. She is now the CEO of video platform Quibi, and serves on the boards of Procter & Gamble and Dropbox.
29. Harriet Heyman
Estimated Net Worth: $2.6 Billion
Harriet Heyman is the wife of Michael Jonathan Moritz, a renowned venture capitalist. He was named as Forbes Midas List's No. 1 venture capitalist in both 2006 and 2007.
30. Pollyanna Chu
Estimated Net Worth: $1.5 Billion
Pollyanna Chu is a Hong Kong businesswoman who co-founded Kingston Financial Group in 1990 with her husband, which is a securities brokerage company. She is one of the richest women in Hong Kong.