Have you ever wondered who the top 10 wealthiest women in the world are? In a world filled with incredible women, only a select few have managed to reach the very top of success and make a lasting impression across various fields — from technology to retail and philanthropy. These extraordinary women have shattered stereotypes and overcome societal norms to redefine what is possible and show that anyone can achieve greatness, regardless of their background or chosen field. This article will explore the stories of the world’s wealthiest women, delving into how they amassed their fortunes and the inspiring journeys that led them to become the trailblazers they are today.
10. Iris Fontbona
- Net worth: $22.8 billion
- Age: 81
- Country: Chile
- Source of wealth: Mining, Antofagasta plc
Iris Fontbona is the wealthiest woman in Chile. She founded Grupo Errázuriz, a mining company that produces copper, gold, and molybdenum. She inherited her wealth from her late husband, Andrónico Luksic Abaroa, a Croatian-Chilean entrepreneur.
Born in Chile in 1942, Fontbona married Luksic Abaroa in 1967, and they had four children together. Luksic Abaroa passed away in 2005 at 69, and Fontbona took over the leadership of Grupo Errázuriz after his death. Under her leadership, the company has grown significantly, becoming a significant player in the mining industry.
In addition to her business interests, Fontbona is also a philanthropist. She has donated millions of dollars to various charities, including the Iris Fontbona Foundation, which provides scholarships to students in Chile.
Fontbona’s success in business serves as an inspiration to women worldwide. She is a self-made woman who has accomplished great things and continues to impact the world positively through her philanthropic efforts.
9. MacKenzie Scott
- Net worth: $24.4 billion
- Age: 53
- Country: United States
- Source of wealth: Amazon
MacKenzie Scott is the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and is one of the world’s most generous philanthropists. She has given away over $12 billion to various causes since 2019. She has pledged to give away the majority of her wealth.
Scott was born in San Francisco, California, on April 7, 1970. She graduated from Princeton University in 1992 with a degree in English. She met Bezos in 1992 while they were both working at D.E. Shaw & Co., a hedge fund. They married in 1993 and had four children together. The couple divorced in 2019, and Scott received a 4% stake in Amazon as part of the settlement.
Scott has since become one of the most generous philanthropists in the world. She has donated billions of dollars to various causes, including education, racial equity, climate change, and global poverty. In 2020, she donated $1.7 billion to multiple organizations; in 2021, she contributed another $2.74 billion.
8. Gina Rinehart
- Net worth: $27 billion
- Age: 69
- Country: Australia
- Source of wealth: Hancock Prospecting
Gina Rinehart is an Australian mining magnate and businesswoman. She founded Hancock Prospecting, one of Australia’s largest privately owned companies. Rinehart is the wealthiest person in Australia and one of the richest women in the world, with a net worth of $27 billion.
Rinehart was born in Perth, Western Australia, on February 09, 1954. She is the daughter of Lang Hancock, a successful iron ore prospector. Rinehart inherited Hancock Prospecting after her father died in 1992.
Under Rinehart’s leadership, Hancock Prospecting has become one of Australia’s largest mining companies. The company has interests in iron ore, coal, and other minerals. Rinehart has also invested in agriculture, media, and property.
Rinehart is a controversial figure. She has been criticized for her environmental record and her business practices. However, she is admired for her business acumen and determination to succeed.
7. Susanne Klatten
- Net worth: $27.4 billion
- Age: 61
- Country: Germany
- Source of wealth: Altana, BMW
Susanne Klatten is a German billionaire businesswoman and heiress who has made a name for herself in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries. She was born in Bad Homburg, West Germany, on April 28, 1962, and is the eldest daughter of Herbert Quandt, a prominent industrialist who played a significant role in the development of BMW.
Klatten’s education was an essential factor in her success. She completed her schooling at Kaiserin-Friedrich-Gymnasium in Bad Homburg and later pursued business administration at the University of Buckingham in England. She further honed her skills by earning an MBA from IMD Business School in Lausanne, specializing in advertising.
Klatten’s early professional experience included working in London for Dresdner Bank, McKinsey & Company, and Bankhaus Reuschel & Co. These roles gave her valuable insights into the financial and business world, shaping her understanding of strategic decision-making and risk management.
In 1993, Klatten joined the supervisory board of Altana AG, a pharmaceutical company, demonstrating her keen interest in the healthcare sector. She later rose to deputy chairwoman, showcasing her leadership capabilities and contributions to the company’s growth.
Klatten’s most significant business venture lies in her substantial stake in BMW, the renowned German automaker. She inherited a considerable shareholding from her father and has demonstrated her understanding of safeguarding the company’s legacy while driving its innovation and expansion.
Her investment portfolio extends beyond BMW and Altana. She holds a stake in SGL Carbon, a manufacturer of carbon fibers. She has invested in various technology and healthcare companies. Her astute investments and strategic decision-making have solidified her position as a prominent figure in the German business landscape.
Klatten is also involved in philanthropic endeavors. She strongly supports education and has established the UnternehmerTUM foundation, which aims to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in Germany. Her contributions to various charitable organizations reflect her commitment to social responsibility and making a positive impact on society.
Susanne Klatten’s incredible journey from inheriting a business empire to becoming a self-made billionaire is a testament to her intelligence, determination, and strategic thinking. She has emerged as a leading figure in the German economy, inspiring generations of women to pursue their dreams and make their mark on the world.
6. Rafaela Aponte-Diamant
- Net worth: $31.2 billion
- Age: 78 or 79
- Country: Italy
- Source of wealth: Mediterranean Shipping Company
Rafaela Aponte-Diamant is a successful businesswoman who co-founded and is the chairman of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), one of the world’s largest shipping companies. Rafaela’s hard work and determination have made her a prominent figure in the global shipping industry, and she has amassed a fortune of $31.2 billion.
Born in Haifa, Israel, in the mid-1940s, Rafaela had to move to Switzerland with her family as a child. Her father was an executive banker, and her exposure to finance and business at a young age influenced her future endeavors.
Rafaela’s journey into the shipping industry began when she met Gianluigi Aponte, a ship captain, in the 1960s. They shared a passion for the sea and an entrepreneurial spirit, which led them to start a company together.
With a loan of $200,000, Rafaela and Gianluigi acquired their first ship, the MSC Carla C, in 1970, marking the birth of MSC. Under Rafaela’s leadership, MSC expanded its fleet and global reach. She played a crucial role in developing MSC Cruises, the company’s cruise line division, by overseeing the interior design and ambiance of the vessels.
Rafaela is known for her collaborative leadership style, empowering her team to contribute their expertise and fostering a culture of innovation. She is a hard worker who is committed to the success of MSC.
5. Miriam Adelson
- Net worth: $35 billion
- Age: 78
- Country: Israel / United States
- Source of wealth: Las Vegas Sands
Miriam Adelson, a remarkable figure in philanthropy and business, is the widow of Las Vegas Sands founder Sheldon Adelson. With a net worth of $35 billion, she has inherited a vast empire of casinos, resorts, and real estate. She also became a generous philanthropist, significantly contributing to education, medical research, and Jewish causes.
Born in Haifa, Israel, on October 10, 1945, Miriam Adelson’s journey has been marked by resilience, determination, and a deep commitment to her family and her causes. She met Sheldon Adelson in 1968, and their relationship blossomed into a partnership that would shape the landscape of the gaming and hospitality industries.
In 1989, Miriam and Sheldon Adelson co-founded Las Vegas Sands Corporation, a company that would revolutionize the casino industry. Their vision and strategic leadership transformed Las Vegas into a global entertainment destination, attracting millions of visitors and generating vast revenue.
Miriam Adelson’s contributions to Las Vegas Sands extended beyond her role as a co-founder. She was crucial in developing and designing the company’s iconic resorts, including The Venetian, Palazzo, and Wynn Las Vegas. Her keen eye for detail and understanding of customer preferences contributed significantly to the success of these renowned properties.
Beyond her business acumen, Miriam Adelson is a passionate philanthropist. She has established the Adelson Foundation, which has donated millions of dollars to various causes, including education, medical research, and Jewish heritage organizations. Her philanthropic endeavors reflect her deep sense of responsibility and commitment to positively impacting the world.
Miriam Adelson’s unwavering support for education is evident in her generous donations to institutions such as Tel Aviv University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is also a strong advocate for medical research, significantly contributing to organizations dedicated to finding cures for cancer and other diseases.
Her commitment to Jewish causes is deeply rooted in her heritage and values. She has supported various Jewish organizations, including the Birthright Israel program, which allows young adults to experience Israel and connect with their Jewish identity.
4. Jacqueline Mars
- Net worth: $38.3 billion
- Age: 84
- Country: United States
- Source of wealth: Mars, Inc.
Jacqueline Mars is an American heiress, investor, and philanthropist. She is the daughter of Audrey Ruth (Meyer) and Forrest Mars, Sr., and the granddaughter of Frank C. Mars, founders of the American candy company Mars, Incorporated. As of November 2023, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimated her net worth at US$46.4 billion, ranking her the 24th-richest person in the world (tied with her brother John). In the annual ranking of the wealthiest women in the world in 2023, Forbes estimated her fortune at $38.3 billion and placed her in fourth place.
Jacqueline Mars was born in McLean, Virginia, on October 10, 1939. She is the youngest of three children of Audrey Ruth (Meyer) and Forrest Mars, Sr. Her father was an American businessman who co-founded Mars, Inc., one of the world’s largest candy and pet food manufacturers. Her mother was an American socialite and philanthropist.
Mars attended the Miss Hall’s School, a private boarding school for girls in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She then graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1961 with a degree in anthropology.
After college, Mars worked for Mars, Inc. for nearly 20 years. She held various positions in the company, including marketing and sales. She also served on the company’s board of directors from 1982 to 2016. In addition to her work at Mars, Inc., Mars has also been involved in several other businesses. She is a co-founder of the equestrian apparel company Mars Equestrian. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Washington National Opera.
Mars is a passionate philanthropist. She has donated millions of dollars to various causes, including animal welfare, medical research, and education. She co-founded the US Equestrian Team Foundation, which provides training and support to American equestrian athletes. She is also a major donor to the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution.
Mars has been married three times. Her first marriage was to David Badger in 1961. The couple had three children together. They divorced in 1984. Mars’ second marriage was to Hank Vogel in 1986. They divorced in 1994.
3. Alice Walton
- Net worth: $56.7 billion
- Age: 74
- Country: United States
- Source of wealth: Walmart
Alice Walton, born in Newport, Arkansas, in 1949, is the daughter of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. After graduating from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, with a degree in economics, she worked as a buyer for JCPenney. In 1980, she joined Walmart and served on the company’s board of directors from 1988 to 2018.
Alice Walton is a philanthropist who has donated millions of dollars to various causes, including education, healthcare, and the arts. She founded the Walton Family Foundation, which supports programs and initiatives in K-12 education, college access and affordability, and environmental conservation.
In 2011, Alice Walton opened the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, which houses a collection of over 20,000 works of American art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs.
2. Julia Koch
- Net worth: $59 billion
- Age: 61
- Country: United States
- Source of wealth: Koch Industries
Julia Koch is a remarkable woman who has significantly contributed to the business and philanthropic worlds. Born on April 12, 1962, in Indianola, Iowa, she has carved a unique path that has led her to become one of the most influential figures in her field.
Julia Koch’s early life was shaped by her strong family values and exposure to the business world. Growing up in a family deeply involved in the agriculture and energy industries, she developed a keen understanding of the importance of hard work, determination, and innovation.
Her journey into the business world took a significant turn when she met David H. Koch, a co-founder of Koch Industries, a multinational conglomerate interested in energy, chemicals, manufacturing, and other sectors. They married in 1996, and their partnership extended beyond personal affection to encompass a shared passion for business and philanthropy.
Julia Koch’s involvement in Koch Industries grew over the years, and she played a crucial role in shaping the company’s strategic direction and philanthropic endeavors. Her contributions extended to various aspects of the business, including marketing, public relations, and sustainability initiatives.
Following David Koch’s passing in 2019, Julia Koch inherited a significant stake in Koch Industries, becoming one of the largest shareholders. This transition brought her increased responsibilities and influence within the company, further solidifying her position as a prominent figure in the business world.
1. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers
- Net worth: $80.5 billion
- Age: 70
- Country: France
- Source of wealth: L’Oréal
Bettencourt Meyers is the heiress of L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, founded by her grandfather Eugène Schueller in 1909. Born in 1953 and raised in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a wealthy suburb of Paris, she pursued her higher education at École Polytechnique, France’s most prestigious university, where she studied Mathematics and Physics. After graduating, she worked as a computer programmer before joining L’Oréal in 1988.
Bettencourt Meyers served on L’Oréal’s board of directors for more than two decades, and she was also the chairwoman of the company’s family-holding company, Tethys Invest. Following her mother Liliane Bettencourt’s death in 2017, Bettencourt Meyers inherited her mother’s 33% stake in L’Oréal.
Bettencourt Meyers is a private individual who rarely grants interviews. Her interests include science and the arts. She is also a philanthropist and has generously donated millions of dollars to support education, healthcare, and environmental causes.
As we come to the end of our exploration of the most successful women who have achieved great wealth, it is clear that their stories are more than just stories of financial success. They are examples of their unwavering determination, strategic brilliance, and commitment to excellence. These remarkable women have accomplished personal success, inspiring many generations to pursue their dreams and positively impact the world.
The top 10 wealthiest women in the world represent ambition, determination, and perseverance. They have turned their dreams into a reality, and their accomplishments have created an everlasting legacy that will continue to inspire and empower women worldwide. Their journeys remind us that anything is possible with hard work, dedication, and a passion for making a difference.
Here’s a quick recap of the top 10 richest women in the world:
|Name||Net Worth (USD)||Source of Wealth|
|Françoise Bettencourt Meyers||80.5 B||L’Oréal|
|Julia Koch||59 B||Koch Industries|
|Alice Walton||56.7 B||Walmart|
|Jacqueline Mars||38.3 B||Mars, Inc.|
|Miriam Adelson||35 B||Las Vegas Sands|
|Rafaela Aponte-Diamant||31.2 B||Mediterranean Shipping Company|
|Susanne Klatten||27.4 B||Altana, BMW|
|Gina Rinehart||27 B||Hancock Prospecting|
|MacKenzie Scott||24.4 B||Amazon|
|Iris Fontbona||22.8 B||Antofagasta plc|
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