The richest woman in the world has a net worth solely derived from the cosmetic industry. It’s a shame that all these women billionaires obtained their wealth through divorce settlements, widow-ship or through inheritance from wealthy parents.
Wealth is not easy to come-by, if it were, then all of us would be stupid rich.
But, for the women on this top 10 list…massive sums of money literally fell into their laps and they never had to lift a finger for it.
Most of these women inherited their fortunes from wealthy parents and grandparents…2nd and 3rd generation “old money.”
The richest woman in the world is no exception…she inherited her vast fortune upon her mother’s death.
Two women on this list acquired their wealth upon their husbands’ deaths, while one literally hit the jackpot when the richest man in the world cheated on her.
Sadly, the world is still highly skewed and the current economic policies in place, make it more likely for Caucasian males to succeed. Women are still at a great disadvantage in the business world and women of color have especially gotten the short end of the stick.
Women who occupy one of the highest paying jobs in the world, get paid 30% less than their male counterparts! The world is not fair at all.
But, let’s not give up hope. Maybe in the next few years, we’ll see ordinary women who have built their fortunes up, from ground-level themselves, on Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest female billionaires.
Now, let’s get started with our countdown and find out who is the richest woman in the world.
Iris Fontbona — (net worth) — US$14.3 Billion
Iris Fontbona has the highest net worth in Chile and she’s one of the wealthiest women billionaires in Latin America.
She’s the 10th richest woman in the world and has an estimated net worth of US$14.3 billion.
She’s the widow of Andrónico Luksic Abaroa, who founded Antofagasta PLC, one of the largest mining companies in the world.
Iris Fontbona acquired the bulk of her wealth when her husband died in 2005 due to cancer.
At the age of 17 she met her husband, Andrónico Luksic Abaroa, who was 20 years her senior. She married him by the time she was 18.
They had 3 children together…one of whom was mentioned in the Panama Papers has having several offshore accounts.
She has proven herself to be quite the businesswoman. Following her husband’s death, one of the major decisions she made was to acquire a 70% stake in Canal 13 – a Chilean television station.
Other business interests that she and her family control, through their Santiago-based company called Quiñenco, include:
- 65% of Antofagasta PLC.
- A pair of luxury hotel chains.
- CSAV – the world’s 16th largest shipping company.
- CCU – Chile’s largest brewer.
- A luxury resort in Croatia.
- Banco de Chile.
- Madeco – a copper products manufacturer.
Iris Fontbona is a very private person and doesn’t grant any interviews at all.
Abigail Johnson — (net worth) — US$14.6 Billion
Abigail Johnson is the 9th richest woman in the world and has an estimated net worth of US$14.6 billion.
She’s the president and CEO of Fidelity Investments (FMR) – an American investment firm.
She’s also the chairwoman of Fidelity International (FIL) – FMR’s international sister company. Her father, Edward C. Johnson III, remains the chairman emeritus of Fidelity Investments (FMR).
She’s one of the wealthiest women billionaires in the world all thanks to her grandfather…
Fidelity was founded in 1946 by her grandfather, Edward C. Johnson II and it has 45,000 employees worldwide. Abigail started working at the company in 1988, upon graduating from Harvard Business School with a MBA.
The Johnson family own a 49% stake in Fidelity, while Abigail herself holds an estimated 24.5% stake in the company.
In 2016, she donated the maximum amount legally allowed, to Republican presidential candidate – Jeb Bush.
The various boards she serves on include:
- Being the first and only woman to serve on the board of the Financial Services Forum.
- Member of the board of directors of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).
- Member of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation.
Gina Rinehart — (net worth) — US$14.7 Billion
Gina Rinehart has the highest net worth in Australia and she’s the 8th richest woman in the world.
She is the chairwoman of Hancock Prospecting, a privately-owned mining company founded by her father, Lang Hancock.
She dropped out of University to work with her father at the family mine. She has since expanded into agriculture, buying several cattle ranches. She has also made investments in Fairfax Media and Ten Network Holdings.
Being an only child, Gina inherited 76.6% of Hancock Prospecting upon her father’s death in 1992. The company’s remaining shares were transferred into a trust-fund for her 4 children.
Although her net worth has tumbled over the years due to stagnation in Australia’s mining sector, her remaining fortune of US$14.7 billion still makes her one of the wealthiest women billionaires in the world!
Susanne Klatten — (net worth) — US$18.8 Billion
Susanne Klatten is the richest woman in Germany and the 7th richest woman in the world.
She’s one of the wealthiest women billionaires in Europe and has an estimated net worth of US$18.8 billion.
She is the daughter of Herbert and Johanna Quandt. The Quandts are one of the richest families in the world – they’re the ones that founded BMW.
Upon her father’s death, she inherited 12.5% in BMW and 50.1% in Altana – a pharmaceutical and chemicals manufacturer.
In 2009, she bought up the remaining shares in Altana. She and her brother, Stefan Quandt, are both supervisory board members of BMW.
In 1979, Police foiled an attempted kidnapping plot on her and her mother.
Because of this kidnapping plot, she sometimes went by the alias of Susanne Kant.
In 2007, Susanne Klatten had an affair with Helg “Russak” Sgarbi, a 44-year-old Swiss national who later tried to blackmail her and threatened to release their sex tape.
Turns out Susanne was not the only rich woman Helg Sgarbi had tried to blackmail. In 2009, he was arrested and charged with similar blackmail schemes against multiple women. He was sentenced to 6 years in jail by a German court.
His accomplice who allegedly filmed Helg and Susanne Klatten with hidden cameras, Italian hotel owner Ernano Barretta, was also arrested and was sentenced to 7 years in 2012.
Susanne Klatten has surely led a very interesting life…
Yang Huiyan — (net worth) — US$21.2 Billion
Yang Huiyan is one of the wealthiest women billionaires in Asia and has an estimated net worth of US$21.2 billion.
In fact, she’s the richest woman in Asia, but globally…she’s “only” the 6th richest woman in the world.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts/Science degree from Ohio State University in 2003.
She owns 57% of Country Garden Holdings, a stake her father transferred to her in 2007. Country Garden Holdings is a Chinese real estate company.
Her father Yang Guoqiang, founded the company in 1997 and its initial offering raised about $1.6 billion, during its IPO in 2007.
Laurene Powell Jobs — (net worth) — US$21.4 Billion
Laurene Powell is the widow of Steve Jobs – the former CEO and co-founder of Apple.
She’s the 5th richest woman in the world and has an estimated net worth of US$21.4 billion.
She met Steve at a lecture at Stanford Business School in 1989, where she was a MBA student. They got married a year and a half later in 1991, at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.
Laurene inherited the Steven Jobs Trust, after his death due to pancreatic cancer. The Steven Jobs Trust has 38.5 million shares of Apple and a 7.3% stake of The Walt Disney Company worth an estimated US$11.1 billion.
According to Wikipedia, “On the 3rd October 2017, reports indicated that Laurene had purchased a stake in the ownership group called, Monumental Sports and Entertainment – its ownership of teams and arenas include – the NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals and Capital One Arena. Her estimated 20% stake makes her the 2nd largest shareholder behind chairman, Ted Leonsis.”
Laurene Powell is reportedly dating former Washington D.C. mayor, Adrian Fenty.
Her marriage to Steve Jobs made her one of the wealthiest women billionaires in the tech industry.
Jacqueline Mars — (net worth) — US$23.9 Billion
Jacqueline Mars is the 4th richest woman in the world and has an estimated net worth of US$23.9 billion.
Thanks to her grandfather, Frank C. Mars, she’s one of the wealthiest women billionaires in the world.
It was her grandfather who founded the American candy company – Mars, Inc. Her fortune is primarily derived from this company that’s famously known for its M&Ms.
She started working for the Mars company in 1982, as the Food Product Group President, until her retirement in 2001.
She’s also a member of the 2nd richest family in the world and they’ve a collective net worth of US$126.5 billion!
She once fell asleep at the wheel and caused an accident that killed one person, and caused another to miscarriage.
MacKenzie Bezos — (net worth) — US$35.3 Billion
MacKenzie Bezos became one of the world’s wealthiest women billionaires after her divorce from Jeff Bezos.
She’s now the 3rd richest woman in the world and has an estimated net worth of US$35.3 billion.
In January 2019, Jeff and MacKenzie announced that they would be getting a divorce.
Their divorce finalized on the 4th April 2019. Jeff Bezos now remains with 75% of Amazon stock, while his ex-wife acquired US$35.6 billion in Amazon stock!
Even after his huge divorce settlement, Jeff Bezos still has the highest net worth in the world!
MacKenzie Bezos has since joined the Giving Pledge initiative – signers of the pledge agree to give away half of their wealth to charity.
Alice Walton — (net worth) — US$45 Billion
Alice Walton is a heiress of the Walton family fortune and her clan is the richest family in the world – they’ve a collective net worth of US$190.5 billion!
She’s the daughter of Walmart founder, Sam Walton. She owns over US$11 billion in Walmart shares.
Her total estimated net worth of US$45 billion makes her the 2nd richest woman in the world!
In 2004, she donated US$2.6 million to a conservative political party called, Progress for America.
In 2016, Alice Walton donated over US$350,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund, a fundraiser that supports Hillary Clinton and other Democrats.
She has been involved in numerous car accidents, one of which killed a 50 year-old woman and another where she was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) – Alice paid a fine of US$925 for the offense.
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers — (net worth) — US$49.3 Billion
Françoise Bettencourt is the richest woman in the world and has an estimated net worth of US$49.3 billion!
Françoise is the only daughter and heiress of Liliane Bettencourt – her family owns the L’Oréal company.
She’s among the top 20 wealthiest people on earth. In 2008, she started proceedings to have her mother declared mentally incompetent. When her mother died in September 2017, she inherited her vast fortune.
Her grandfather Eugène Schueller, founder of L’Oréal, was once on trial for collaborating with the Nazi government.
And there you have it…the top 10 richest women in the world!
Maybe one day you’ll make it onto this list too…anything is possible.
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Richest Woman In The World – Women Billionaires
Wikipedia.org > Gina Rinehart
Wikipedia.org > Iris Fontbona
Wikipedia.org > Abigail Johnson
Wikipedia.org > Laurene Powell Jobs
Wikipedia.org > Susanne Klatten
Wikipedia.org > Yang Huiyan
Wikipedia.org > Jacqueline Mars
Wikipedia.org > MacKenzie Bezos
Wikipedia.org > Alice Walton
Wikipedia.org > Françoise Bettencourt Meyers