Who Are the Richest Women in the World?

Women only make up a small percentage of the world's richest people—but who are they, and how did they earn their money? Getty Images/Reuters

After the public outrage of the # MeToo movement, as well as recent high profile campaigns and legislation aiming to close the gender pay gap, it feels as though the sphere of work is finally starting to treat women as equals.

But in the very upper echelons of money and power, this is far from the case. According to Forbes, the world’s 15 wealthiest people are men, and women only make up 10 percent of the top 100.

Forbes has compiled a seperate list of the wealthiest women in the world, and most of their money comes from their male relatives or husbands. In comparison, the top 10 wealthiest men made their fortunes themselves.

The first self-made woman on the list is Zhou Qunfei, who was born into a poor family in China and dropped out of school at 16. She went on to found an enormously successful technology company. But if you put men back into the equation, she’s only the 198th richest person in the world.

No matter how you feel about the concept of a few people hoarding enormous wealth, the notion that women can only access money and power through their families or husbands seems medieval at best. Yet we see it occur at the very top of many professions, outside of the business world.

A recent high profile example is Hillary Clinton. During her presidential campaign as the first female major-party nominee, she campaigned on a ticket of empowerment. Yet although she is accomplished in her own right, she entered politics as the wife of Bill Clinton, and has undoubtedly benefited from his prestige and connections.

The New York Times reports that the proportion of women in the top one percent of earners has remained flat over the past decade. As this list of the world’s wealthiest women shows, we are far from gender equality at the top levels—and it is becoming harder to imagine a world where a woman can dream as big as her male counterparts.

3 GettyImages-83014781
50. Elisabeth Mohn
Net worth: $5.2 billion. Source of wealth: publishing. Country of citizenship: Germany. Age: 77. Overall ranking: #372. She was was married to the late Reinhard Mohn, a German businessman who was heir to a publishing company.
Florian Seefried/Getty Images
4 GettyImages-81791088
49. Marian Ilitch
Net worth: $5.2 billion. Source of wealth: pizza, sports team. Country of citizenship: United States. Age: 85. Overall ranking: #372. She and her husband, the children of Macedonian immigrants, co-founded Little Caesars Pizza to become self-made billionaires.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images for the NHL
5 GettyImages-516484502
48. Pansy Ho
Net worth: $5.3 billion. Source of wealth: casinos. Country of citizenship: Hong Kong. Age: 55. Overall ranking: #365. She is the daughter of Hong Kong and Macau-based businessman Stanley Ho and manages companies he founded.
Xaume Olleros/Getty Images for amfAR
6 GettyImages-517755732
47. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard
Net worth: $5.4 billion. Source of wealth: Lego. Country of citizenship: Denmark. Age: 35. Overall ranking: #351. She is the youngest daughter of Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the former CEO of The Lego Group.
Bjorn Larsson Rosvall/TT/AFP/Getty Images
7 GettyImages-584560648
46. Margarita Louis-Dreyfus
Net worth: $5.4 billion. Source of wealth: commodities. Country of citizenship: Switzerland. Age: 56. Overall ranking: #351. She was married Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the CEO of Adidas-Salomon and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images
8 GettyImages-606021900
45. Lam Wai Ying
Net worth:$5.4 billion. Source of wealth:smartphone screens. Country of citizenship:Hong Kong. Age:-. Overall ranking: #351. She is married to Yeung Kin-man, the founder and chief executive of Biel manufactures, which provides glass screens for iPhones.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
9 GettyImages-459643778
44. Sofie Kirk Kristiansen
Net worth:$5.4 billion. Source of wealth:Lego. Country of citizenship:Denmark. Age:42. Overall ranking: #351. She is a fourth-generation owner of Lego.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
10 GettyImages-905990116
43. Marie Besnier Beauvalot
Net worth:$5.4 billion. Source of wealth:cheese. Country of citizenship:France. Age:37. Overall ranking: #351. The billionaire heiress is a major shareholder of Lactalis.
Jean-Francois Monier/AFP/Getty Images
11 GettyImages-457234318
42. Randa Williams
Net worth:$5.5 billion. Source of wealth:pipelines. Country of citizenship:United States. Age:56. Overall ranking: #334. Her father, Dan Duncan, was the co-founder of Enterprise Products.
Bob Levey/Getty Images for U.S. Fund for UNICEF
12 GettyImages-631815888
41. Magdalena Martullo-Blocher
Net worth:$5.5 billion. Source of wealth:chemicals. Country of citizenship:Switzerland. Age:49. Overall ranking: #334. She is the daughter and an heiress of former Swiss Federal Councillor Christoph Blocher.
Peter Klaunzer/AFP/Getty Images
13 dh
40. Diane Hendricks
Net worth:$5.5 billion. Source of wealth:roofing. Country of citizenship:United States. Age:71. Overall ranking: #334. She is the widow of businessman Ken Hendricks, who found fortune with a shingle supply company.
ABC Supply Co., Inc