World Facts

The Richest Women In The World

According to Forbes, Liliane Bettencourt, one of L'Oréal's principal shareholders, is the richest woman in the world.

Every year, Forbes Magazine ranks the world’s billionaires, publishing a separate list for men and women. In February of 2016, the Real Time ranking used by the magazine indicated 167 women billionaires in the world. In October of 2015, that number was 187. This article takes a closer look at some of the richest women in the world.

1. Lillianne Bettencourt

Lillianne Bettencourt is not only the richest woman in the world, but also the richest woman in history. Her net worth is valued at $38.8 billion. Bettencourt was born in Paris in 1922 to the founder of L’Oreal, one of the largest cosmetic and beauty supply companies in the world. As such, she is now one of the major shareholders of the company, owning 30.5% of its shares. In 1987, Bettencourt founded the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation with the objective of developing humanitarian, medical, and cultural projects. In addition to its social outreach projects, the Foundation has also funded the construction of the Monet hall of the Museé Marmottan Monet.

2. Alice Walton

Alice Walton is the second richest woman in the world with a net worth of $34.6 billion. She was born in 1949 in Newport, Arkansas of the United States to the founders of Wal-Mart, a large retail chain. Reports indicate that she owns more than $11 billion in Wal-Mart shares. Walton began practicing watercolor painting with her mother as a child and today, she is an avid art collector. Some of her most extensive collections include works by: George Bellows, Martin Johnson Heade, Stuart Davis, and John Singer Sargent. Walton also has a record of driving under the influence of alcohol, leading to her involvement in several car accidents. Of these accidents, one ended with a fatal injury.

3. Jacqueline Mars

The third richest woman in the world and 20th richest person in the United States is Jacqueline Mars. She was born in 1939, the granddaughter of the founder of Mars, an American candy company. Mars attended Bryn Mawr College in the state of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1961 with a degree in anthropology. Her estimated net worth is valued at $23.9 billion; of this, approximately $22 billion is in shares and assets of the Mars company.

4. Maria Franca Fissolo

Maria Franca Fissolo is on the Forbes list as the fourth richest woman in the world. She is an Italian citizen and the richest person in that country. Fissolo is the widow of Michele Ferrero, the founder of Ferrero SpA. Ferrero SpA is best known for producing Nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread, Kinder chocolates, and Tic Tac candies. Her husband died in 2015, however, the company continues to produce sweets. Fissolo has an estimated net worth of $23.6 billion.

5. Susanne Klatten

With a net worth valued at $17.6 billion, Susanne Klatten is the fifth richest woman in the world and the richest in Germany. She was born on April 28, 1962 in Bad Homburg, Germany to Herbert and Johanna Quandt. She inherited a large percentage of her wealth after the death of her father. Her inheritance is a 50.1% stake in Altana, previously a pharmaceutical company and now a specialty chemical company, and a 12.5% stake in BMW, the luxury vehicle company. Additionally, Klatten has a 25% stake in Nordex, a wind turbine manufacturer.

A more complete list of the world’s richest women can be found in the chart published below.

The Richest Women In The World

RankNameBirth dateNet worth US$ (billions)CitizenshipSource
1Liliane Bettencourt21 October 1922 (age 94)38.8 FranceL'Oreal
2Alice Walton7 October 1949 (age 67)34.6 United StatesWal-Mart
3Jacqueline Mars10 October 1939 (age 77)23.9 United StatesMars, Inc.
4Maria Franca Fissolo1918 (age 98–99)23.6 ItalyFerrero SpA
5Susanne Klatten28 April 1962 (age 54)17.6 GermanyAltana, BMW
6Laurene Powell Jobs6 November 1963 (age 53)17.0 United StatesApple, Inc., Disney
7Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken30 June 1954 (age 62)13.3 NetherlandsHeineken International
8Abigail Johnson19 December 1961 (age 55)13.0 United StatesFidelity Investments
9Blair Parry-Okeden1950 (age 66–67)10.2 United StatesCox Enterprises
10Gina Rinehart9 February 1954 (age 62)10.0 AustraliaHancock Prospecting
11Massimiliana Landini Aleotti1942/1943 (age 74–75)9.9 ItalyMenarini
12Iris Fontbona1942/1943 (age 73–74)9.7 ChileAntofagasta PLC
13Margarita Louis-Dreyfus1 July 1962 (age 54)8.1 SwitzerlandLouis Dreyfus Group
14Zhou Qunfei1970 (age 46–47)7.7 Hong KongLens Technology
15Katharine Rayner1944/45 (age 71–73)6.7 United StatesCox Enterprises
16Pauline MacMillan Keinath31 July 1934 (age 82)6.7 United StatesCargill
17Sandra Ortega Mera19 July 1968 (age 48)6.5 SpainZara
18Eva Gonda de RiveraUnknown6.4 MexicoFEMSA
19Loretta Robinson1939/1940 (age 77–78)6.3 CanadaRogers Communications
20Antonia Ax:son Johnson6 September 1943 (age 73)5.8 SwedenAxel Johnson AB

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