Who are the top richest women in the world?
Do you know any, even by a guess?
Let’s find out if you can recognize any name in this list, or perhaps a brand name, probably one you’ve used before.
Most of the focus is normally on men, but what about the wealthiest women in the world?
There is this popular saying that goes thus “what a man can do, a woman can do even better”.
No doubt, this goes beyond being a cliche.
Women are really topping their game these days, making waves in various industries.
In fact, many pieces of research suggest that female CEOs outearn their male peers—but it’s not that simple.
Top 20 Richest Women in the World
In this article, we’ll be revealing to you the top 20 female billionaires in the world right now.
Forbes magazine annually ranks the world’s wealthiest female billionaires, usually in March.
However, this list uses the varying real-time net worth of female Forbes billionaires as of the time of writing this article – November 2019.
So, keep an eye for an updated list as soon as it’s available.
As usual, we’ll start from the bottom of our list upward to the No.1 richest woman in the world.
It makes sense to save the best for last… what do you think?
20. Kirsten Elisbet Rausing
Kirsten Elisbet Rausing is the granddaughter of Ruben Rausing who was the founder of the liquid food packaging company Tetra Pak.
Rausing owns one-third of Tetra Pak, a company that revolutionized aseptic food packaging in the 20th century.
The new packaging made it possible to store beverages like milk and orange juice in cartons instead of glass bottles.
She inherited her stake in the company from her late father, Gad Rausing, a Swedish industrialist.
A member of the Jockey Club, Kirsten also owns 50% of the British Bloodstock Agency, which buys and sells racehorses for wealthy clients. (source)
Kirsten and her two siblings Finn and Jörn together also own a 17% stake in International Flavors & Fragrances.
She currently ranks as the 20th richest woman in the world with a net worth of US$8.7 billion.
19. Christy Walton
Christy Ruth Walton is the widow of John T. Walton, one of the sons of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart.
She is also the beneficiary of the Walmart fortune.
Christy inherited a stake in the retailer when her husband died.
She received about one-sixth of her husband’s estate, while her son, Lukas Walton, got about one-third.
Like her sister-in-law Alice, Christy Walton is involved in other projects outside of Walmart.
She is on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which her husband co-founded.
The organization is dedicated to helping low-income students “escape poverty through educational opportunity.”
Christ Walton is currently worth US$8.7 billion while she ranks as the 19th richest woman in the world.
18. Blair Parry-Okeden
Blair Parry-Okeden is a quiet American who is also one of Australia’s richest person.
She inherited a 25% stake in Cox Enterprises after her mother, formerly the richest woman in Hawaii, died in 2007.
Cox Enterprises is an Atlanta-based communications and automotive services conglomerate which James M. Cox founded after buying the Dayton Evening News in 1898.
While Blair has no role at the company, her brother, Jim Kennedy, is the company’s chairman.
Blair Parry-Okeden currently ranks as the 18th richest woman in the world with a net worth of US$9.6 billion.
17. Denise Coates
Denise Coates is a British billionaire businesswoman who founded online gambling company Bet365.
She serves as the company’s co-CEO (along with her brother, John).
Coates is also their majority shareholder, holding a stake of 50.3%.
In 2018, she controversially paid herself more than £265 million, making her the highest-paid British CEO.
Denise Coates is currently worth US$10.5 billion and ranks as the 17th richest woman in the world.
FACT: In 2018, Denise Coates paid herself £265 million which is more than three times greater than Tim Cook earned (£80m) running Apple.
16. Fan Hongwei
Fan Hongwei is one of the top 20 female billionaires in the world.
She is the chairman of Hengli Petrochemical, a chemical fibre supplier established in 2002.
Hengli Petrochemical has manufacturing sites in the Chinese cities of Suzhou, Suqian and Nantong.
Fan is married to Chen Jianhua, the chairman of Hengli’s holding company who is also a billionaire.
She currently ranks as the 16th richest woman in the world with a net worth of US$10.9 billion.
15. Zhong Huijuan
Do you know anyone who has dared to take a mad risk?
I think I found one on the women category of Forbes billionaires.
Zhong Huijuan quit her job as a chemistry teacher to teenagers and got into the drug business in 1995.
Interestingly, the career switch has paid off handsomely.
Zhong chairs Chinese drugmaker Hansoh Pharmaceutical, which produces oncology, psychoactive, antidiabetic and other drugs.
Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group is China’s largest maker of psychotropic drugs.
Her husband, Sun Piaoyang, is also a pharmaceuticals billionaire and leads Shanghai-listed Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine.
Zhong owns over 75% of Hansoh Pharmaceutical with their daughter, Sun Yuan.
The bulk of her wealth comes from her stake in Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group, China’s largest maker of psychotropic drugs.
Zhong Huijuan currently ranks as the 15th richest woman on Forbe’s list with a net worth of US$12.1 billion.
14. Wu Yajun
Wu Yajun is co-founder and chairperson of Hong Kong-listed real estate developer Longfor Properties.
Longfor Properties is based in Hong Kong but operates in 47 cities.
Wu and her former husband, Cai Kui, co-founded Longfor in 1993 but divorced in 2012.
Cai Kui no longer has a role in the company after their separation.
Wu served as the company’s CEO for six years and chairman of the board from 2007 up until 2018.
Just last year, she transferred control of her 44% stake in the company to her daughter Cai Xinyi.
This is part of her succession planning for according to Longfor.
Wu Yajun is one of the self-made female billionaires in the world.
Today, Wu Yajun is worth US$12.4 billion and ranks as the 14th richest woman in the world.
13. Kwong Siu-Hing
Kwong Siu-hing is the widow of Sun Hung Kai Properties co-founder Kwok Tak-seng, who died in 1990.
After her husband’s death, she has been in control of the conglomerate Sun Hung Kai Properties.
For those of you who do not know, Sun Hung Kai Properties is the largest property developer in Hong Kong.
Between 2008 – 2011, Kwong served as the company’s chairman after her eldest son, Walter, was expelled in a feud with her two other sons, Thomas and Raymond.
After stepping down, Kwong still remains the biggest stockholder in Sun Hung Kai with a 26.58% stake.
The majority of her fortune stems from her stake in the company.
Kwong Siu-Hing’s net worth is US$13.3 billion and she ranks No 13 among the top 20 list of female billionaires.
12. Iris Fontbona & family
Iris Fontbona is the Chilean billionaire whose family is the richest in the country.
They also list in the top 5 richest families in Latin America.
Iris Fontbona is the widow of Andrónico Luksic, who built a fortune in mining and beverages before dying of cancer in 2005.
Fontbona and her children control Antofagasta Plc, which owns copper mines in Chile and trades on the London Stock Exchange.
The second company where Fontbona and her sons own the majority stakes is Quiñenco, a publicly-traded Chilean conglomerate working in banking, energy, beer, and manufacturing.
She derives the majority of her fortune from her 65% stake in the ninth-largest copper producer in the world, Antofagasta.
Iris Fontbona currently worth US$14.4 billion and ranks as the 12th richest female in the world.
11. Gina Rinehart
Gina Rinehart is a leading figure in the mining and agricultural industries in Australia.
She is Australia’s richest citizen who has built her wealth on iron ore, an industry that continues to expand robustly.
Gina is the daughter of high profile iron-ore explorer Lang Hancock.
She took her late father’s bankrupted estate and rebuilt it into something much larger.
Since becoming Executive Chairman of the Hancock Prospecting Group in 1992, Rinehart has transformed the Group from one that was in difficulties and financially troubled to a successful industry-leading innovator.
Under Rinehart’s leadership, the Hancock Group has diversified from prospecting to include investments in iron ore, coal, beef, dairy and property.
The biggest piece of her fortune comes from the Roy Hill mining project, which started shipments to Asia in 2015.
She is also Australia’s third-largest cattle producer, with a portfolio of properties across the country.
Gina Rinehart is currently worth US$15.2 billion, making her the 11th richest woman in the world
10. Abigail Johnson is the 5th richest woman in the world.
Abigail Johnson is the chairman of Fidelity Investments, a company her grandfather founded in 1946.
She worked summers at Fidelity through college and joined full-time as an analyst in 1988 after receiving a Harvard M.B.A.
Abigail Johnson served as CEO of Fidelity Investments since 2014, when she took over from her father but has been chairman since 2016.
She owns an estimated 24.5% stake of the firm, which has nearly $2.7 trillion in managed assets.
Johnson is one of Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women and she’s worth around US$15.3 billion.
The majority of her wealth stems from her stake in Fidelity Investments, making her the 10th richest woman in the world.
9. Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken is a Dutch-English businesswoman and heiress to, you’ve probably already guessed it, the brewing company Heineken International.
She inherited the Heineken stake in 2002 from her late father, longtime CEO Freddy Heineken.
Charlene controls a 25% stake in the Heineken company and is consequently one of the wealthiest women in the world.
She currently ranks as the number 9 in this list of top 20 richest women in the world.
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken has a net worth of US$15.4 billion.
8. Susanne Klatten
Susanne Klatten is the daughter of Herbert and Johanna Quandt and heiress to German motor company, BMW as well as chemical company, Altana AG.
She owns 19.2% of automaker BMW while her brother, Stefan Quandt, owns 23.7% of the company.
The majority of her wealth stems from her 50% stake inheritance of her grandfather’s company Altana AG.
She has since taken Altana private, making it all hers.
Being an economist with an M.B.A., Klatten helped transform her grandfather’s Altana AG into a world-class pharmaceutical/specialty chemical corporation.
She also holds stakes in wind power outfit Nordex AG and carbon and graphite producer SGL Group.
Summing up everything together, Susanne Klatten is currently worth US$20.6 billion.
She ranks as the 8th richest woman in the world.
7. Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs is the widow of the co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs.
She and her family inherited billions of dollars of stock in Apple and Disney when her husband died.
Since then, she’s been actively investing in journalism.
She also has investments in a coding school and set up the Emerson Collective that works for immigration and education reform.
Laurene Powell Jobs’ net worth is US$22.8 billion and she ranks as the 7th richest woman in the world.
6. Yang Huiyan
Yang Huiyan was chronicled as Asia’s wealthiest woman and China’s youngest billionaire in 2018.
She owns a majority stake in the Chinese property giant Country Garden Holdings, which has ridden the wave of China’s building boom.
Yang owns about 57% of the real estate development company.
A stake largely transferred to her by her father Yeung Kwok Keung in 2007 before the company went public.
Yang also chairs Bright Scholar Education Holdings, a Chinese education company, which is the largest operator of international and bilingual K-12 schools in China.
She currently ranks as the 6th richest woman in the world with a net worth of US$24.9 billion.
FACT: In 2018, Yang shocked the world when she made a whopping US$2 billion in just 96 hours.
5. Jacqueline Mars is the 5th richest woman in the world.
Similar to Alice Walton, Jacqueline Mars comes from one of America’s richest families and inherited a substantial amount of wealth.
As the 5th richest woman in the world, Jacqueline Mars is worth an estimated $29.2 billion — thanks to her Mars Inc. fortune and investments.
Mars owns a third of Mars Inc., the world’s largest confectioner, which was set up by her grandfather Frank in 1911.
It may also interest you to know that it is one of the largest manufacturers of pet food in the US.
Jacquline Mars owns one-third of Mars Inc., her brother, John also owns one-third while her late brother Forrest Jr’s. four daughters own the rest.
4. Mackenzie Bezos
MacKenzie S. Bezos is the ex-wife of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.
She is an American novelist and philanthropist who was married to Jeff from 1993 until their divorce in 2019.
MacKenzie only made it to this list after her divorce with her Forbes billionaire husband, Jeff Bezos.
As part of her divorce entitlement, MacKenzie received a 4% stake in Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer.
The estimated value of her net worth is US$35.2 billion.
This is just the value of her stake in Amazon alone, but her true net worth is likely to be even higher.
Who knows, there may be changes in 2020, so, let’s Keep an eye on the Forbes 2020 rich list to see how much higher.
For now, Mackenzie Bezos currently ranks as the 4th richest woman in the world and the 25th richest person on Forbes List.
It may also interest you to find out where her ex-husband ranks in the list of top 30 richest people in the world
3. Julia Koch
An Iowa native, who moved to New York City in the 1980s and worked as an assistant to fashion designer Adolfo.
Julia Flesher Koch, the world and the widow of David Koch, is currently the 3rd richest woman in the world.
For those of you that don’t know, David Koch was a former executive and co-owner of Koch Industries, the second-largest closely held company in the US.
After David Koch’s death in August 2019 at age 79, Julia and her three children inherited a 42% stake in Koch Industries from her husband.
The majority of her wealth comes from her stake in the Koch Industries, as a result, her net worth is US$43.3 Billion.
2. Alice Louise Walton
Alice Louise Walton is the daughter of Sam Walton and heiress to the fortune of Walmart Inc.
Rather than working together with her siblings at Walmart Inc., Alice prefers to curate art.
In fact, her strong passion for art has led her to open the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in her hometown, Bentonville, Arkansas.
The Museum features works from the likes of Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol as well as that of Mark Rothko.
Alice currently worths US$53.1 billion, therefore, she ranks as the 2nd richest woman in the world and the 15th richest person on the Forbes list.
1. Francoise Bettencourt Meyer is the richest woman in the world
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is a French Billionaire, the heiress to L’Oreal’s fortune as well as the richest woman in the world.
She is the granddaughter of L’Oreal’s founder, Eugene Schueller.
In 2018, the company recorded its highest sales growth in more than a decade.
Meyers and her family own a whopping 33% of L’Oreal stock.
A major part of Meyer’s wealth stems from her stake in L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company.
She became France’s reigning L’Oreal Heiress in 2017 when her mother Liliane Bettencourt, then the world’s richest woman, died at age 94.
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is currently the No 1 richest woman in the world with a net worth of US$57.4 billion.
Summary of The Top 20 Female Billionaires in the World
Here’s a quick recap on the latest list of the top 20 richest women in the world:
- Francoise Bettencourt Meyers – US$57.4 billion
- Alice Louise Walton – US$53.1 billion
- Julia Koch – US$43.3 billion
- MacKenzie Bezos – US$35.2 billion
- Jacqueline Mars – US$29.2 billion
- Yang Huiyan – US$24.9 billion
- Laurene Powell Jobs – US$22.8 billion
- Susanne Klatten – US$20.6 billion
- Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken – US$15.4 billion
- Abigail Johnson – US$15.3 billion
- Gina Rinehart – US$15.2 billion
- Iris Fontbona & family – US$14.4 billion
- Kwong Siu-Hing – US$13.3 billion
- Wu Yajun – US$12.4 billion
- Zhong Huijuan – US$12.1 billion
- Fan Hongwei – US$10.9 billion
- Denise Coates – US$10.5 billion
- Blair Parry-Okeden – US$9.6 billion
- Christ Walton – US$8.7 billion
- Kirsten Elisbet Rausing – US$8.7 billion
How many of these people did you originally expect to see in this top 20 female billionaires list?
Please, leave a comment below let’s know how many people you were able to guess correctly.