Another record year for the three comma club has boosted the wealth of female billionaires around the world. An all-time high of 256 women made the 2018 Forbes World’s Billionaires rankings; their collective net worth topped $1 trillion, up 20% since last year, outpacing the total gains overall. Though most of the women at the top of the list inherited their fortunes, more than a quarter of the female moguls were self-starters who blazed their own trails. The number of self-made women reached 72 for the first time, up from 56 a year ago.
U.S.’s Abigail Johnson, who heads Fidelity Investments — received a family business but played a hand in substantially growing it.
In fact, of the top 10 wealthiest women, eight inherited all their riches while two — Australia’s Gina Rinehart, who sources her fortune from iron ore,
Sitting at third is Susanne Klatten, who has a $25 billion fortune primarily thanks to her inherited stake in automaker BMW.
reached 72 for the first time, up from 56 a year ago.
Alice Walton reclaims the crown as the richest woman in the world, as her fortune leapt from $33.8 billion to $46 billion over the past year. The only daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, Alice moves up one spot to number 16, thanks largely to a 43% uptick in the value of Walmart’s shares. The massive retailer has been making an aggressive push into e-commerce in a head-to-head contest against Amazon, and recently announced a new line of kitchen products in partnership with Buzzfeed’s online food network, Tasty. The Bentonville, Arkansas, firm also plans to roll out meal kits to 2,000 stores in 2018 and is creating four new private label brands for clothing.
Walton takes the title of richest woman from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, who died in September 2017 at the age of 94. The only child of Bettencourt, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, is the runner up with a net worth of $42.2 billion. That’s higher than what her mother was worth a year ago but shy of Walton’s gain. Meyers derives her fortune from a 33% stake in the cosmetics giant. Her grandfather Eugene Schueller founded the predecessor to L’Oreal in 1909, two years after the young chemist started creating hair dyes under the name Oréal. Under him, the business grew from selling dyes to Parisian hairdressers to a household name, and Schueller passed on his stake to daughter Liliane, who joined the company as an apprentice when she was 15 years old.