richest women in the world

Unveiling the 10 Richest Women in the World

Ten of the richest women in the world are making their mark in the business arena. Generational wealth, divorce settlements, and wise investments have helped propel them to the top in wealth accumulation and power. These impressive numbers are based on Forbes’ April 25, 2023 estimates. According to Forbes, there are 337 women billionaires out of a total of 2,640.


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The Ten Richest Women in the World

1. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers

Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the 69-year-old French heiress and chairwoman of L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, is top of the list. With an estimated net worth of over $80 billion, she inherited her fortune from her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, who passed away in 2017 and has diligently grown the company through smart investments.

Bettencourt Meyers has served on the L’Oréal board since 1997, is chairwoman of the holding company Téthys Invest, and continues to grow the family fortune. She has climbed the ranking of richest people in the world and is no number 11.

  • Net Worth: $80.5 billion
  • Source: L’Oréal
  • Country: France

2. Julia Koch

Julia Koch, an American philanthropist, inherited a fortune from her late husband, David Koch, who co-owned Koch Industries. Her net worth of around $59 billion places her among the wealthiest women globally. Besides her charitable contributions, Koch is actively involved in numerous cultural and educational institutions. The extended Koch family is one of top five richest families in the world.

  • Net Worth: $59 billion
  • Source: Koch Industries
  • Country: United States

3. Alice Walton

Alice Walton is an American businesswoman and the daughter of the founder of the retail giant Walmart, Sam Walton. She has a net worth of around $56 billion, partly from her share of Walmart stock. The three Walton siblings own the majority shares, controlling the company, and making them the richest family in the world. However, she didn’t enter the family business like her brothers and forged her own path instead. Walton worked as an analyst and broker and founded her investment bank, Llama Company, which closed in the 1990s. She also established the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, which holds her vast collection of artwork.

  • Net Worth: $56.7 billion
  • Source: Walmart
  • Country: United States

4. Jacqueline Mars

Jacqueline Mars, an American businesswoman, inherited a substantial fortune from her family’s confectionery empire, Mars, Inc. Her estimated net worth is approximately $38 billion thanks to their success in the global candy market. Mars owns an estimated one-third of the company. She worked for the company for 20 years and served on the board until 2016. The Mars family is also one of the wealthiest families in the world.

  • Net Worth: $38.3 billion
  • Source: Mars
  • Country: United States

5. Miriam Adelson

Miriam Adelson is a physician who acquired her fortune from her late husband, Sheldon Adelson, the former CEO and chairman of the casino company Las Vegas Sands. He passed away in 2021. Her inheritance includes ownership of more than half of the gambling empire, leaving her with a net worth of $35 billion, making her one the richest women in the world.

  • Net Worth: $35 billion
  • Source: Las Vegas Sands
  • Country: United States

6. Rafaela Aponte-Diamant

Aponte-Diamant co-owns shipping giant Mediterranean Shipping Company with her husband, Gianluigi Aponte. They are self-made billionaires who started their business in 1970 when they purchased a ship with a $200,000 loan. MSC is taking over as the largest global shipping line by container capacity. Aponte-Diamant has a net worth of just over $31 billion.

  • Net Worth: $31.2 billion
  • Source: Mediterranean Shipping Company
  • Country: Switzerland

7. Susanne Klatten

Susanne Klatten, a German businesswoman and heiress, inherited a substantial stake in the renowned automobile manufacturer BMW. She also helped her grandfather build a top pharmaceutical and specialty company Atlanta AG, of which Klatten is now the sole owner. Her net worth is over $25 billion.

  • Net Worth: $27.4 billion
  • Source: BMW, Atlanta AG
  • Country: Germany

8. Gina Rinehart

An Australian mining magnate, Gina Rinehart has made a name for herself in the male-dominated industry. Since 1992 she has been the Executive Chairwoman of Hancock Prospecting, a privately owned mineral exploration and extraction company founded by her father, Lang Hancock. With a net worth surpassing $27 billion, Rinehart has taken her father’s mining company to new heights, becoming a key player in the global resource sector.

  • Net Worth: $27 billion
  • Source: Hancock Prospecting
  • Country: Australia

9. McKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott is an accomplished author and the former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. In 2005 Scott wrote her debut novel, “The Testing of Luther Albright,” for which she won an American Book Award in 2006. She became one of the world’s wealthiest women following her divorce. With MacKenzie Scott’s net worth of approximately $24 billion, including a 4% share in Amazon, she is primarily focused on philanthropic endeavors. She has made headlines for her generous donations, focusing on causes like education, racial equity, and healthcare.

  • Net Worth: $24.4 billion
  • Source: Amazon
  • Country: United States

10. Iris Fontbona

Iris Fontbona is a Chilean businesswoman known for being one of the wealthiest individuals in Chile and Latin America. She acquired her wealth primarily through her late husband, Andrónico Luksic, a prominent Chilean businessman and the founder of the Luksic Group, a conglomerate with interests in mining, industrial, financial, and beverage sectors.

After her husband’s passing in 2005, she inherited a significant portion of the family’s wealth and assumed control of the Luksic Group alongside her three sons. Under Iris Fontbona’s leadership, the Luksic Group has continued to expand its business interests and investments. 

  • Net Worth: $23.1 billion
  • Source: Luksic Group
  • Country: Chile

Many of the World’s Richest Women Continue to Build Empires

From the cosmetics industry to technology, mining to finance, these women have left a lasting mark on their respective fields. They have built empires, invested wisely, and navigated the complexities of the business world with skill.

But their impact extends far beyond their net worth. Many of the richest women on the list have used their resources, influence, and philanthropy to uplift others, champion causes, and positively impact society around the world.

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Nadia Tahir is a freelance writer and content creator. She mostly writes in the areas of lifestyle and personal finance. She also enjoys writing on her blog about motherhood at This Mom is On Fire.

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