More women than ever are now achieving a personal net worth of over $1 billion. In fact, there are 256 women included in the rankings on the 2018 Forbes World’s Billionaires list and this is an all-time record. There are various reasons why these women have become so wealthy. While some are from wealthy families and have inherited large sums of money, others are successful businesswomen who have achieved great things in their field and are an inspiration to other women. There are examples of such women from almost every industry and there are female billionaires from across the globe. Here are the 20 richest females in the world and you will be staggered by the astronomic net worth figures for these women.
20. Milane Frantz, Randa Duncan Williams, and Dannine Avara- $6.3 Billion Each
Randa Duncan Williams, Milane Frantz and Dannine Avara are the children of Enterprise Products co-founder Dan Duncan and his wife Lee Ellis. They also have a brother. When their father died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 2010, each of his children inherited $3.1 billion. This is now worth $6.3 billion. It is an interesting fact that the family was the first billionaires not to pay estate tax when Dan Duncan died due to the temporary repeal of estate tax law. The siblings were all born in Houston Texas where they all continue to live with their families. Prior to working for the family company, Randa Duncan Williams practiced law at a company called Butler & Binion and Brown, Sims, Wise, & White. She then worked in the family business, which remains under family control. Between 1994 and 2001, she has acted in several roles for Enterprise Products, including vice president, president, and chief executive officer. She was then elected as the non-executive chairman for Enterprise Products Partners in 2013.
19. Margarita Louis-Dreyfus- $8.1 Billion
The life story of Margerita Louis-Dreyfus is a true tale of rags to riches. She was born in Leningrad, USSR, on July 1, 1962, and grew up in an orphanage. She trained as a retail accountant before working as a circuit-board equipment seller. She then met Robert Louis-Dreyfus on a flight to London from Zurich. They fell in love and married in 1992. Their first son Eric was born in 1992 and their twins, Maurice and Kyril, were born in 1998. He husband owned the Louis-Dreyfus group. When he died of leukemia in 2009, she took over as chairman. Her partner is now Phillip Hildebrand, who is the former head of the Swiss bank. The couple has twin girls together who were born in March 2016. The couple and their children live in Zurich, Switzerland. She is now worth $8.1 billion, which is not bad for a girl who grew up in an orphanage.
18. Antonia Johnson- $8.5 Billion
Antonia Ax:son Johnson was listed as the third richest Swedish billionaire by 2013. She was born in New York City on September 6, 1943, although she has dual US and Swedish citizenship. She is the fourth-generation head of the family company, Axel Johnson AB, which her great-grandfather founded in 1873. She succeeded her father as chairman of the board in 1982 for both Axel Johnson AB in Sweden and Axel Johnson Inc., in Stamford, USA. Prior to working for the family company, she was an exchange student who studied at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She then attended Stockholm University where she earned a master’s degree in psychology and economics. She has since studied at Ibero College in Mexico City. Johnson has also been given the honor of a doctor of humane letters from the Middlebury College of Vermont and awarded an honorary degree of a doctor of civil law from Bishop’s University in Quebec. Most of Antonio Johnson’s money is inherited and her wealth continues to grow.
17. Elaine Tettemer Marshall- $8.8 Billion
Elaine Tettemer was born on July 22, 1942. She became a billionaire through her marriage to E. Pierce Marshall in 1965. She and her husband have two sons; Preston Marshall and E. Pierce Marshall Jr. Her father-in-law, J. Howard Marshall owned Kock industries and his shares were passed to her husband. When her husband died in 2006, she and her sons inherited the shares in the company. There were several legal battles involved in her receiving these shares. Her father-in-law was married to model Anna Nicole Smith in the later years of his life. When he died, the former model sued to lay a claim on her late husband’s estate. There was also a court case relating to gift tax as J. Howard Marshall had given away an indirect gift of shares in Koch Industries to several family trusts, of which Elaine Tettemer Marshall was a trustee.
16. Pollyanna Chu- $9.5 Billion
Pollyanna Chu was born and raised in Hong Kong. She is a billionaire businesswoman of is in executive positions for Golden Resorts Group, Kingston Financial Group, and Sincere Watch. According to lists, she is the 14th richest person in Hong Kong. She has lived in the United States previously as she studied for a bachelor’s degree in management at the Golden Gate University and was then awarded an honorary Ph.D. in Business Management by York University in the United States. She is married to Nicholas Chu and they have one child together. Both Pollyanna Chu and her husband are both real estate investors. They named their company Kingston Financial Group after their only son, Kingston.
15. Zhou Qunfei- $10.2 Billion
Zhou Qunfei is an entrepreneur who was born in 1970 in Xiangxiang, Hunan Province, China. Unlike many female billionaires who have achieved their wealth through marriage or inheritance, Qunfei is a self-made woman. In fact, she is now the richest woman in China and the world’s richest self-made woman. She founded Lens Technology which is one of the major touchscreen makers in the world. In 2015, her company was publicly listed on the Shenzhen ChiNext market and this boosted her net worth. This was not the career that she had planned for herself as she had dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. Instead, she worked for a low wage in a factory and this is where she met her first husband who was the factory boss. However, this change in her planned career path has led to her extreme wealth. Zhou Qunfei has been married twice. She had a daughter with her first husband and a son with her second husband, Zheng Junlong.
14. Miuccia Prada- $11.1 Billion
Miuccia Prada is the youngest granddaughter of Mario Prada, who is the founder of the family’s luxury goods company. She was born as Maria Bianchi in Milan, Italy, on May 10, 1949. Miuccia Prada took over the family business in 1978 and the company has made several acquisitions under her leadership. These include Helmut Lang, Jil Sander, and Church & Co. She also has her own contemporary art gallery, which she opened in 2002. Prior to her involvement in the company. Prada worked as an entertainer. Her first successful handbag design was launched in 1985 and she launched a successful ready-to-wear collection in 1989. She introduced the Miu Miu line in 1992. Prada married businessman Patrizio Bertelli in 1978. They have two sons together, one of whom is the rally driver Lorenzo Bertelli.
13. Massimiliana Landini Aleotti- $11.3 Billion
Massimiliana Landini Alleotti is an Italian heiress and businesswoman. She is the co-owner, along with her son and daughter, of the pharmaceutical company Menarini. This has led to her becoming one of the richest women in the world. At the family company, her daughter, Luci, is the chairman and her son, Alberto Giovanni, is the vice chairman.
12. Blair Parry-Okeden- $12.2 Billion
Blair Parry-Okedon is an American billionaire heiress and as she now lives in Scone, New South Wales, Australia, she is the richest person in Australia by personal net wealth. She was born in Honalulu, Hawaii, in 1950. She attended a school that was founded by her mother, Barbara Cox Anthony. Her father was Stanley C. Kennedy Jr. and her grandfather was James M. Cox, who had founded Cox Enterprises, a privately held media company. Although Parry-Okeden inherited 25% of the company following her mother’s death, she plays no role at the company. Despite this, she has a personal net worth of $12.2 Billion. She was married to Simon Parry-Okeden with whom she had two children before they divorced.
11. Anne Cox Chambers- $15.5 Billion
Anne Cox Chambers is one of the oldest billionaires in the world as she was born in Dayton, Ohio, on December 1, 1919. She is a media proprietor and has a stake of interest in Cox Enterprises. This is a privately held media empire that includes a range of businesses, including radio, newspapers, cable television, and television. Anne Cox Chambers is the daughter od James M. Cox and Margaretta Parker. She now has control of her late father’s business interests. She has been married twice, first to Louis G. Johnson and then to Robert W. Chambers. She has three children; Katharine Rayner, Margaretta Taylor, and James Cox Chambers. She now lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
10. Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken- $15.9 Billion
Charlene Heineken was born on June 30, 1954, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. However, she now resides in London. She is a Dutch-English businesswoman who is the daughter of Lucille Cummins and Freddy Heineken. Her father is a Dutch industrialist who owned Heineken International, the second largest brewery in the world. Her mother is from an American family from Kentucky who ran a bourbon whiskey distillery. She studied first at Rijnlands Lyceum Wassenaar and then obtained a law degree from Leiden University. She married Michael de Carvealho and they have five children together. Her husband is a financier and the director of Citigroup. He is also a member of the supervisory board for Heineken NV. When her father died in 2002, Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken inherited $3 billion and she became the richest person in the world with Dutch citizenship. She now owns a controlling interest of 25% of Heineken International and is also the executive director.
9. Iris Fontbona – $16.6 Billion
Iris Balbina Fontbona Gonzalez was born in Santiago, Chile, in either 1942 or 1943. She is a billionaire businesswoman who is the widow of Andronico Luksic Abaroa. When her husband died of cancer in 2005, she inherited Antofagasta PLC and this led to her becoming the wealthiest person in Chile and the fifth wealthiest person in Latin America. Along with her family, she has control of the Santiago-based mining company. They also control Banco de Chile, Madeco, the largest brewer in Chile CCU, a copper products manufacturer, and a shipping company called CSAV. Since her husband’s death, Iris Fontbona has grown the family business and increased its profitability.
8. Gina Rinehart- $17.2 Billion
Gina Hope Hancock was born in Perth, Western Australia, on February 9, 1954. She is an Australian mining magnate in the position of chairman of Hancock Prospecting. This is a privately owned mineral extraction and exploitation company that was founded by Lang Hancock, her father. When her father died, she inherited a large stake in the company as she was his only child and she took over the company. This has led to her becoming one of the richest people in Australia. She has also made major investments in industries other than mining, such as Fairfax Media and Ten Network Holdings. At one point, she was ranked as the richest woman in the world. Due to a slowdown in the Australian mining industry, she has dropped significantly in the rankings in recent years. Gina Rinehart married her first husband, Greg Hayward, in 1973. They had a son and a daughter together; John Langley and Bianca Hope. They were divorced in 1981. She then married Frank Rinehart in 1983. They had two daughters together; Hope and Ginia. Sadly, Frank died in 1990.
7. Abigail Johnson- $18.2 Billion
Abigail Johnson was born on December 19, 1961. She studied for a bachelor of arts degree in art history at Hobart and William Smith in 1984 and then attended Harvard Business School where she completed her MBA. Her grandfather, Edward C. Johnson II, founded an investment firm called Fidelity. Since 2014, Johnson has been president and chief executive officer of Fidelity Investments and Fidelity International. As of 2016, she also became chairman of the companies, but will retain her former positions in addition to her new role. This means she has full control of both companies and their 450,000 employees worldwide. Not only is she one of the richest women in the world, she is also ranked as one of the most powerful women in the world.
6. Laurene Powell Jobs- $21.3 Billion
Laurene Powell Jobs is a businesswoman and executive who is also known as the wife of Steve Jobs. She was born in West Milford, New Jersey, on November 6, 1963. She is the founder of Emerson Collectives. This is a company that advocates for policies that relate to immigration reform, environmental conservation, and education. She was married to Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple, from 1991 until his death in 2011. The couple had three children together. Laurene co-founded the Laurene Powell Jobs Trust with her husband and she has continued to manage this trust. Her personal wealth of $21.3 billion is accrued from a combination of her business ventures and the inheritance she received when she was widowed. In the past, she founded several more businesses, including a natural foods company called Terravera.
5. Huiyan Yang- $22.3 Billion
Huiyan Yang is the richest woman in Asia and was also the youngest woman in China to become a billionaire. She was born in Shunde, Guangdong Province, China in 1981. She is the majority shareholder of Country Garden Holdings and a property developer. Yang is the daughter of Yang Guoqiang who founded Biguiyuan in 1997. This later became Country Garden. He gave his daughter 70% of the shares before its 2007 IPO. She is now the chairman of Country Garden Holdings’ board’s governance committee. Prior to working in business, Huiyan Yang attended Ohio State University. She has been married to Chen Chong since 2006.
4. Susanne Klatten- $24.4 Billion
Susanne Klatten is a German heiress who was born in Bad Hamburg on April 28, 1962. She is the daughter of Herbert and Johanna Quandt. When her father died, she inherited a 50% stake in Altana, a pharmaceutical and chemicals manufacturer. She also has holdings in German car manufacturer BMW. When her mother died, she also inherited her mother’s wealth. This has led to her becoming the wealthiest woman in Germany. Klatten has a problem with this and does not like being recognized as a billionaire. In the past, she has used a flase surname to avoid recognition. Klatten has been married to Jan Klatten since 1990 and they have three children together. An interesting fact about Susanne Klatten is that police were forced to intercept an abduction attempt of her and her mother, Johanna Quandt, in 1978. Klatten’s brother is Stefan Quandt. Klatten continues to live in Bad Hamburg, Germany, with her family.
3. Jacqueline Mars- $28.2 Billion
Jacqueline Mars is a billionaire heiress and business woman from America who was born on October 10, 1939. Her grandfather, Frank C. Mars, was the founder of the American candy company, Mars, Incorporated. Her parents are Forrest Mars, Sr. and Audrey Ruthe Meyer. As the main heiress to shars in Mars, Inc., Jacqueline Mars became an extremely wealthy woman on the deaths of her grandfather and father. She has invested her money and this has helped her net worth to grow. She was married to David H. Badger from 1961 to 1984. With her first husband, she had three children; Alexandra, Stephen, and Christa. She was married to second husband Hank Vogel from 1986 to 1994. In 2013, Jacqueline Mars attracted attention to herself after being involved in an accident she caused while falling asleep at the wheel and crossing the central reservation. One person involved was pregnant and suffered a miscarriage while another died at the scene. She was charged with reckless driving following this incident.
2. Maria Franca Fissolo- $32.3 Billion
Maria Franca Fissolo is an Italian billionaire through inheritance. She was married to Michele Ferrero, the owner of Ferrero SpA. This is the second largest confectionary company in Europe and is the parent company of Nuttella, Mon Cheri, Kinder Chocolate, Ferrero Rocher, Tic Tacs, and Kinder Eggs. The couple have two sons together, Pietro and Giovanni. When her husband died on February 14, 2015, Maria Franca Fissolo inherited her husband’s company and wealth. This made her the richest woman in Italy and Europe and the second richest woman in the world. Despite her inheritance, she is not currently active in the business and is now residing in Monica.
1. Alice Walton- $46 Billion
Alice Walton currently has the honor of being the richest woman in the world and in the richest top 20 in the world when taking the net worth of both men and women into account. She was born in Newport, Arkansas, on October 7, 1949. She is the daughter od Helen Walton and Sam Walton, who founded Wal-Mart. Before becoming involved in the family business, Alice Walton attended Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and then worked as an equity analyst and money manager. In 1988, Alice Walton founded the Llama Company, which is an investment bank. She was the president, chairwoman, and CEO. She closed this company in the 1990s and moved to a ranch in Millsap, Texas. Following the death of her father in 1992, Alice Walton and her three brothers inherited huge sums of money and shares in Wal-Mart. In 2016, it was reported that Alice Walton owned over $11 billion in shares in the company. In her personal life, Alice Walton has been married twice. She first married an investment banker in 1974 but their marriage was over within two and a half years. She then married the man who had built their swimming pool. However, this marriage also ended quickly in divorce. Alice Walton has no children and currently resides in Mineral Wells, Texas.