These Are The World's Richest Women

Photo: Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.
Alex and Ani founder Carolyn Rafaelian.
If you ever wondered what the collective wealth of the richest people on the planet might be, look to Forbes, which just released its annual ranking of the world’s billionaires.
The 2,208 people on the list are worth £6.6 trillion, and billionaire business is good: the sum of the group's wealth is up 18% from a year ago, the magazine says.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos leads the group with a net worth of £81 billion, and Walmart heiress Alice Walton (worth £33 billion) is the world’s wealthiest woman. Last year, that honour went to Liliane Bettencourt, the French heiress and principal shareholder of L'Oreal.
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While the list is a yearly reminder of the gender disparity in wealth (and the fact that the gender pay gap continues to be problematic), there are a number of women on this year's list. More women (256) secured a place on this year’s list, and most of them inherited their riches, but the number of self-made women rose to 72 this year, up from 56 last year.
Some of those self-starters are familiar entrepreneurs or run household-name companies, like Spanx founder Sara Blakely, Alex and Ani CEO Carolyn Rafaelian, and Little Caesars Pizza cofounder Marian Ilitch. Yoshiko Shinohara, the founder of Temp Holdings, who became Japan's first self-made billionaire last year, reappears this year, as does Lens Technology founder and CEO Zhou Qunfei. (Zhou is currently the wealthiest self-made woman in the world.)
Curious where the world's wealth is concentrated? Two-thirds of the world's wealthiest self-made women are from the US and China. (Overall, "on this year's list, the billionaires hail from 72 countries and territories." Hungary and Zimbabwe are represented for the first time.)
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