The trillion dollar club, composed of a handful of men that largely hail from the tech sector, is the focus of many within the business world, but it is time to divert our attention to how the world’s richest women are faring in comparison and in which corners of the globe they reside. Enter female billionaires.
As expected, the largest number of female billionaires is in the United States, followed by China, Germany and Italy. However, there are double the number of female billionaires living in the United States compared to China, according to a recent study conducted by City Index, which examined the location and net worth of the world’s wealthiest women.
French-based L’Oreal heiress Francoise Bettencourt Meyers boasts an astonishing net worth of US$82.1 billion as the world’s richest woman, which is rare given that France takes 12th place on the female billionaire world map. Bettencourt Meyers inherited one-third of the L’Oreal fortune as well as several exclusive properties in 2017 when her mother passed away.
The United States comprises 92 female billionaires, with Julia Koch and family taking the lead with a net worth of US$59 billion. This is followed by Alice Walton and Jacqueline Mars whose net worths are US$57.5 billion and US$38.3 billion respectively.
Koch and her three children inherited a 42 percent stake in Koch Industries following the death of her husband with whom she donated US$20 million to support the work of medical institutions.
As the daughter of Walmart Founder Sam Walton, Alice Walton chose to dedicate her life to art, opening the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2011, while Jacqueline Mars’ wealth stems from her grandfather, Founder of the Mars food company.
In the Asia–Pacific region, Gina Rinehart, with an estimated net worth of US$27.1 billion, ranks at the top, ahead of Chinese female billionaires Yang Huiyan and family, and Fan Hongwei and family.
Rinehart, whose fortune stems from iron ore, is also Australia’s wealthiest individual, cementing the nation’s position within the top five.
Boasting a total of 32 female billionaires, Germany ranks third globally. Germany’s richest woman, Economist Susanne Klatten, who owns pharmaceutical company Atlanta AG and close to 20 percent of BMW, has a net worth of US$27 billion.
Italy’s leading female billionaires, of whom there are 16 in total, reflects the country’s focus on fashion and food. Miuccia Prada (net worth US$5.4 billion), for instance, runs fashion empire Prada – the company that was founded by her grandfather – alongside her husband. She’s closely followed by Alessandra Garavoglia, who inherited her stake in one of the world’s largest alcoholic beverage companies, the Campari Group, and has a net worth of US$3.5 billion.
Countries with the most female billionaires
- United States – 92
- China – 46
- Germany – 32
- Italy – 16
- Australia – 9
- India – 9
- Hong Kong – 9
- Spain – 8
- Switzerland – 8
- Brazil – 7
- Sweden – 7
- France – 6
- Canada – 6
- Denmark – 4
- Israel – 4