This year’s Forbes list has realized an increase in the number of billionaires despite the world battling a global pandemic. Forbes has seen incredible women rising to be billionaires. Forbes has recorded 328 women who made it to the billionaire status in the past year. This was an increase from last years’ 241 a 60% surge. In total, the women’s total combined net worth amounts to $1.53 billion which is double from last year. They collectively added $570.8 billion to their wealth which is credited to recovering stock markets across the world.
Forbes list recorded the first-ever youngest world self-made billionaire woman, Whitney Wolf Herd. She took her matchmaking company public which enabled her to become the world’s youngest billionaire CEO at only 31. She is one of the 63 women who joined the Forbes list world billionaires for the first time.
Among the women at the top include L’Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers whose fortune is tied to the public stocks, again topped the women’s list. Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife Mackenzie Scott also saw her name get to the billionaire status, thanks to the big divorce and surge in Amazon stocks. Worth noting is that twelve of the women on the Forbes list share their fortune with their children, siblings, or husbands. For instance, Beate Heister a German heir to the Aldi Supermarket legacy shared with her brother Karl Albrecht Jr. Other women despite inheriting their wealth have continued to grow the same. Among the 66 women who inherited their wealth and remained on the Forbes list include Miuccia Prada and Dagmar Dolby.
Out of the 328 women on the Forbes list, let’s look at the top 5.
1. Françoise Bettencourt & Family – $73.4 Billion
The French heiress is the richest woman in the world with an estimated net worth of 73.4 billion. Her family holds a 33% stake in L’Oréal stock which has seen a huge increase over the years. She has been on the board of the makeup company since 1997 and currently the chairperson. She occupies the 13th positions in the Forbes list overall.
Bettencourt the only daughter and heiress of Lilliane Bettencourt was raised a strict catholic and has written several Bible commentaries on Jewish-Christian relations. She married Jean Pierre Meyers and raised their two children as Jewish. In 2008 she was involved in a legal battle with her brother which was later titled the worth-Bettencourt scandal as a result of a revealed secret recording. She announced in 2010 the matter had been settled amicably. She inherited a $39 billion legacy in 2017 after her mother’s demise.
2. Alice Walton – $61.8 Billion
Second, on the list is Walmart’s founder only daughter Alice Walton with an estimated net worth of $61.8 billion. She was previously on top of the richest women’s list in the world and now comes second after Bettencourt clinched the top position. Her stake at Walmart has earned her the 20th spot on the Forbes list overall thanks to a 5% increase in Walmart stocks. Walmart introduced free online delivery which helped enhance its sales by 69%.
Her career goes back as an equity analyst and money manager for First Commerce Corporation in which she was the Arvest Bank head of investment. She founded the Liama Company and became the president of the investment bank in 1988. She is the first chairperson of the Northwest Arkansas Council which played a major role in the development of the Northwestern Arkansas Regional airport. She is a huge art collector with a personal art a collection that amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars.
3. MacKenzie Scott- $53 Billion
MacKenzie Scott is an American novelist and philanthropist with an estimated net worth of $53 billion making her the third wealthiest woman in the world and the 21st wealthiest person on the Forbes list. She is well known as Jeff Bezos ex-wife and the recent highly publicized divorce with the richest man on earth. She is accredited for her earlier contribution to the development of Amazon.
MacKenzie is a signatory to giving pledge a commitment to pledge half her wealth to charity. In 2020 she made $5.8 billion in charitable gifts which were the highest ever charitable distributions by a single individual to charity courses such as racial equity, public health, and LGBTQ rights.
4. Julia Koch & Family – $46.4 Billion
The American socialite and philanthropist inherited her fortune from her late husband David Koch in 2019 estimated at $43 billion. She and her three children inherited 46% of Koch industries which guaranteed her spot on the Forbes list and the fourth richest woman in the world. She is on the board of Koch industries.
Her philanthropy includes serving in the board of directors of the School of American Ballet. She is also on the board of the David H Koch Foundation. Her philanthropic works during her husband’s lifetime included donations to institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian Museum of Natural resources, and Lincoln Center.
5. Miriam Adelson – $38.2 Billion
The fifth richest woman in the world is Miriam Adelson an Israeli-American physician and wife to business mogul Sheldon Adelson. As of 2021 not only is she the 5th richest woman, she is also the 36th richest person on the Forbes list with an estimated net worth of $37 billion.
Her major source of wealth is the 56% stake control of the La Vegas Sands Casino which was operated by her late husband. Due to lockdowns, the casino lost an estimated $985 million after the two main casinos were shut down for a better time. The business made a loss of $1,6 billion compared to the previous 2.7 billion prompting the owners to put it on sale for $6.6 billion. They will focus more on Macau which is currently a lucrative casino location.
She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018 and has been a great funder of Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns.