Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the richest person in the world? You could use your money for good, go on endless shopping sprees, fly private jets, or splurge on ridiculously expensive finds. Sometimes people fall down the Google rabbit hole looking to find out who’s the wealthiest person in the world. In particular, you might even wonder who are the richest women in the world.
This is a list for billionaires — those people with so much money it’s actually a little hard for the average person to conceptualize. From business tycoons to legacy silver spoon progeny, here’s a list of the eight richest women in the world. You might be surprised to find that more than half the list is composed of Americans.
1. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers ($90.1B): A Business Built on Beauty
If you’ve ever walked down a drugstore beauty aisle, you’re very familiar with Francoise Bettencourt Meyers’ company. She’s the granddaughter of the founder of L’Oreal. Yes, that L’Oreal of beauty fame. As of the time of publishing, her and her family’s net worth is currently valued at $90.1 billion according to Forbes. But she’s not sitting back on her family’s name. She is the current chairwoman of the family’s holding company and also serves on L’Oreal’s board — a position she’s held since 1997.
2. Alice Walton ($63.2B) : Daily Rollbacks
If Walton sounds slightly familiar, that’s because it’s the first half of the ubiquitous discount big box retailer, Walmart. Alice Walton is the sole daughter of Sam Walton, Walmart’s founder. Forbes has her current net worth valued at $63.2 billion. Walton only briefly worked at Walmart shortly after graduating from Trinity College in 1971. She was a buyer for the children’s clothing department. These days, Walton is the current chairman of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
3. Julia Koch ($60B): Hands in Many Pies
Koch Industries is something of an infamous organization thanks to the Koch brothers and their political influence. However, this is a story of inherited wealth from marrying well and spending time in the right social circles. Julia Koch is the wife of the late Koch brother, David. When he passed in August 2019, she inherited a 42 percent stake in Koch Industries. Her current net worth is $60 billion and her 42 percent interest in the family business is shared with her three children that she shared with her late husband. But before you think she was just a happy housewife, Julia Koch has a storied career in the fashion industry having dressed notable people like Nancy Reagan.
4. Jaqueline Mars ($39.2B): All from Sweets
Who knew that sweets could be so lucrative? Jaqueline Mars’ wealth is thanks to the Mars Company, which was founded by her grandfather. Mars currently owns a third of Mars and even previously served on the board as well as worked there for almost 20 years until retiring in 2016. Today her net worth is estimated at $39.2 billion. This is one company where it’s truly a family affair though. The family business is split evenly with ownership stakes also given to her other brother John and her nieces from her late brother Forrest. These days, Jaqueline Mars’ son, Stephen Badger, is currently on the board of directors.
5. Miriam Adelson ($35.8B): From America’s Playground
When you think of where to go for a fun time, Vegas is one of those places that we all know is the place to be. If you’ve ever headed to Las Vegas, there’s a good chance you’ve probably considered staying at The Venetian Resort or attended an event at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Miriam Adelson is the widow of Sheldon Adelson, the former CEO and chairman of the Las Vegas Sands casino company. Her current net worth is $35.8 billion. Sheldon passed away in 2021, leaving Miriam with a controlling percentage in the publicly traded multinational company that boasts holdings in Singapore and Macao. But again, don’t assume she rested on her husband’s accomplishments. Miriam Adelson is also a medical doctor.
6. Mackenzie Scott ($37.4B): From Digital Bookstores to Prime Days
Mackenzie Scott is probably one of the better known entries on this list thanks to the high profile divorce from her ex-husband, Jeff Bezos who founded the behemoth e-commerce firm Amazon. She was a fixture with Bezos pre-Amazon when they met in 1992 while both were employed at a hedge fund. As part of the divorce settlement, Scott was awarded a 4 percent stake in the online giant which skyrocketed her net worth to $37.4 billion. But most notably, she committed to donate most of her wealth, signing the Giving Pledge, which outlines how she will give away at least half of her wealth during her lifetime. To date, Scott has donated $14.4 billion since 2020 to roughly 1,600 nonprofits with a no-strings-attached promise.
7. Rafaela Aponte-Diamant ($30.5B): Cargo Makes the World Go Round
If you’re looking for a “teamwork makes the dreamwork” love story, Rafaela Aponte-Diamant’s is right up there. She met her husband Gianluigi in the 1960s when he was a simple ship’s captain. The two decided to buy a ship together using a $200,000 loan. You might know their business, which goes by MSC. Along with being the largest shipping line in the world, MSC also has a cruise division (MSC Cruises), over-land logistics, (Medlog), and port operations (Terminal Investment Limited). Rafaela owns a 50 percent stake in the business, with a net worth of $30.5 billion. To this day she oversees the interior design for the MSC Cruise lines while her husband is the executive chairman for the MSC parent company, and the couple’s son is the president of MSC.
8. Gina Rinehart ($26.6B): Built on Mining
The final entry for the eight richest women takes you to Australia. The richest person in the nation is a woman by the name of Gina Rinehart. She’s the daughter of Lang Hancock, an iron-ore explorer. She took the helm of Hancock Prospecting in the early 1990s and turned the financially distressed company around. Eventually she became the executive chairwoman in 1992. Her current net worth is estimated at $26.6 billion. But the company has its hands in many pots as Hancock Prospecting also serves as Australia’s second-largest cattle producer.