Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, Mackenzie Scott, Rihanna… Who are the richest women in the world?
In the land of the ultra-rich, some never stop getting richer. Of the 2,668 billionaires on the planet, more than half saw their fortunes increase in 2021, like the previous year, according to Forbes ‘ 36th annual ranking, published on Wednesday, April 6.
However, the overall sum concentrated by the great fortunes of the world has slightly decreased: they accumulate 12.7 trillion dollars, or 400 billion less than in 2021. A result due to differences between countries. While the number of American billionaires is increasing, and several countries are seeing one of their citizens join the club of the ultra-rich for the first time, other regions of the world are losing momentum. In China, 87 people fell below the billion mark. They are 34 in Russia, a consequence of Western sanctions adopted in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Women are still very rare
Unsurprisingly, men constitute the vast majority – 2,341 out of 2,668 people – and at the top of this ranking, with Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bernard Arnault, owner of LVMH, in the top three. Women, meanwhile, are 327 in number. With a majority of heiresses, they accumulate 1.56 trillion dollars, slightly more than last year. L’Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyerstops the list with $74.8 billion. Alice Walton, daughter of the founder of Walmart supermarkets, comes in second place thanks to her fortune of 65.3 billion dollars. The third, Julia Koch, widow of David Koch, heir to the family multinational Koch Industries, holds 60 billion dollars.
The rest of the list intersects with the names of regulars in the ranking, such as those of Mackenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the German Suzanne Klatten, who owns shares in BMW and owns the pharmaceutical company Altana, or the Australian Gina Rinehart, heiress of the mining and agricultural company Hancock Prospecting Group.
New club members
We also find, among the new billionaires who enter the ranking, 33 women, including 11 self-made women. The richest is Renata Kellnerova. Widow of the Czech businessman Petr Kellner, who died last March, she owns 16.6 billion dollars. We should also mention the Australian Melanie Perkins, only 34 years old, co-founder of the Canva application, whose fortune amounts to 6.5 billion dollars, closely followed by Melinda French Gates, ex-wife of Bill Gates, or even Indian Falguni Nayar. This 59-year-old former investment banker created Nykaa, an online cosmetics brand, in 2012. With success, since her fortune today amounts to 4.5 billion dollars.
Women from all over the world follow, including many Chinese entrepreneurs. At 1,729th place, Rihanna enters the rankings – and becomes the first billionaire from Barbados – with a fortune of 1.7 billion dollars. A windfall that it owes above all to its brands of lingerie and cosmetics, Savage X Fenty and Fenty Beauty, visibly more lucrative than music. We guess fans will have to wait a little longer before hearing Rihanna sing again.