Step Aside, Elon Musk! The World's Richest Women Are Here — And Their Net Worths Are Increasing.

Zinger Key Points
  • Francoise Bettencourt Meyers holds the title of the richest woman in the world, with a fortune of $92.8 billion.
  • 73-year-old Alice Walton saw her net worth increase from $61.68 billion to $65.7 billion.

Some elements of this story were previously reported by Benzinga, and it has been updated.

The battle for "world’s richest person" is always fought between men, but as more women take on leadership and ownership roles in companies, the wealth gap between men and women is slowly closing.

The last decade saw several high-ranking businessmen tussle between first, second and third place on the world’s richest ladder, with Tesla, Inc CEO Elon Musk, LVMH-Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton CEO Bernard Arnault, Indian coal and energy tycoon Gautam Adani and former Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates all holding a top-three position at one point.

Although Arnault closed 2022 with the crown, many of the world’s richest men have seen their net worth plunge over the last year, in line with their company’s stock prices in some cases. So much so for one billionaire that on Jan. 10, Musk received a Guinness World Record for the largest drop in wealth in a single year.

In contrast, half of the top 10 richest women in 2022 saw their net worth increase from the previous year. Those whose fortunes didn’t rise saw their billions dwindle less than the wealth of their male counterparts. 

So who are these wealthy women, and how much are they worth? Below is a look at the top 10 richest women in the world, according to Bloomberg.

  1. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of the founder of cosmetics giant L’Oréal, holds the title of the richest woman in the world, with a net worth of $91.7 billion, a $20.2 billion jump from last year. 
  2. Julia Koch, who inherited a 42% stake in Koch Industries, is the second-richest woman in the world, with a net worth of $67.3 billion.
  3. 73-year-old Alice Walton saw her net worth increase to $65.5 billion, a $3.89 billion spike from the year before. The daughter of Walmart, Inc WMT founder Sam Walton lost the second-place title to Koch recently. The American multinational retail corporation fared well over the last year, losing just 5% compared to competitor Target Corporation TGT, which dropped 31% over the last 52 weeks.
  4. The heiress of Mars Incorporated, Jacqueline Mars, is the fourth-richest woman in the world, with a net worth of $56 billion. Mars’ net worth has risen by $1.2 billion so far this year, indicating that the private confectionary and pet food company was largely unaffected by soaring inflation.
  5. Miriam Adelson, whose net worth comes in at $36.8 billion, is a physician and was the wife of Las Vegas Sands Corp LVS owner Sheldon Adelson until his death in 2021. Miriam rose from the seventh spot in 2022.
  6. The chairwoman of Fidelity International and CEO of Fidelity Investments, Abigail Johnson, is the sixth-richest woman in the world. Her fortune has soared to $31.7 billion year to date. Johnson didn’t make the top 10 prior to 2022.
  7. German heiress Susanne Klatten is the seventh-wealthiest woman in the world, with a net worth of $26.2  billion, up $3.83 billion so far this year. Klatten owns about 12% of BMW and is the richest woman in Germany.
  8. Iris Balbina Fontbona González, a Chilean businesswoman, owns a majority stake in Antofagasta PLC and Quiñenco, the former of which she inherited from her late husband. The South American businesswoman’s net worth has increased by $2.22 billion to $26.1 billion this year.
  9. Gina Rinehart, an Australian cattle producer and executive chairwoman of iron-ore mining company Hancock Prospecting, is the ninth-wealthiest woman, with a net worth of $23.3 billion. 
  10. Elaine Marshall, an American attorney and politician who, along with her sons, owns a 16% interest in Koch Industries comes in at number 10. Marshall's net worth is $22.3 billion, up $60.1 million year to date.

In terms of richest people in the world regardless of gender, only Meyers makes the list. In 2022, Musk lost more than the top two richest women's amassed fortunes combined, with his wealth plunging between $182 to $200 billion. Musk is now estimated to be worth $180 billion.

Originally published Jan. 16, 2023.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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