Despite the pandemic, 63 more women joined the elite billionaires club in 2021. Forbes 2021 billionaires list included 328 women, compared to 241 last year. Their combined net worth was $1.53 trillion, an increase of 60% from last year. These billionaires added more than $570 billion to their wealth, largely due to the rebound in the stock markets. Detailed below are the top ten richest women in the world in 2021.
Top Ten Richest Women In 2021
Following are the top ten richest women in the world in 2021 as per their net worth:
Iris Fontbona & family (Chile, $23.3 billion)
Iris inherited Luksic Group after the death of her husband Andronico Luksic in 2005. The group has an interest in beverages, mining, industrial and financial sectors. She also owns a majority stake in Quiñenco, which is a Chilean conglomerate operating in the banking, beer and manufacturing industry. Iris is the richest woman in Chile, and her net worth was about 6% of the country’s GDP in 2016.
Gina Rinehart (Australia, $23.6 billion)
Rinehart is the executive chairman of Hancock Prospecting, a private mining and agricultural business that she inherited. What she inherited was a bankrupt estate, but with her hard work and dedication, Rinehart turned around the business into one of the most successful business stories. She also ventured into the beef market, making Hancock the third biggest cattle producer in Australia.
Susanne Klatten (Germany, $27.7 billion)
Susanne Klatten owns about 19% of BMW, a stake that she inherited from her late mother, Johanna Quandt. She is also the owner and deputy chairman of Altana, a pharmaceutical and chemical company. Klatten also holds a stake in Nordex AG (a wind power company), Geohumus (soil additive company) and SGL Group (carbon and graphite producer). She helped her grandfather transform Altana AG into a world-class pharmaceutical/specialty chemical company.
Yang Huiyan & family (China, $29.6 billion)
Yang owns more than 50% of Garden Holdings, a popular real estate company founded by her father, Yeung Kwok Keung. She graduated from Ohio State University. Yang, who is the richest woman in China, also oversees U.S. listed Bright Scholar Education Holdings, which is the biggest operator of international and bilingual K-12 schools in China.
Jacqueline Mars (U.S., $31.3 billion)
She is the granddaughter of Frank C. Mars, who founded the world’s biggest candy making company, Mars Inc. She owns about one-third of the company, where she worked for almost 20 years and served on the board until 2016. Mars’ son Stephen Badger is the chairman of the company currently. Her brother John also owns about one-third of the company.
Miriam Adelson (U.S., $38.2 billion)
Miriam inherited 56% of Las Vegas Sands after the death of her husband, Sheldon Adelson, in January. She is an Israeli-born doctor, and now the richest Israeli, as well as the 36th-richest person in the world. Miriam and her husband donated $180 million to Republican campaigns and political action committees last year. She is also the co-founder of Sheldon G. Adelson Research Clinic.
Julia Koch & family (U.S., $46.4 billion)
Julia Koch is the latest addition to the billionaires list. She (and her three children) inherited a 42% stake in Koch Industries after her husband, David, died in August 2019. She sits on the board of Koch Industries as well, which was America’s largest private company last year. Julia is from Iowa and moved to New York in the 1980s. She was employed as an assistant to fashion designer Adolfo.
MacKenzie Scott (U.S., $53 billion)
MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, entered the billionaires club in 2020. As part of the divorce settlement, Bezos gave 25% of their Amazon stake to MacKenzie. She was the biggest philanthropist last year, donating $5.8 billion to 500 U.S. nonprofit organizations, in support of causes like LGBTQ+ rights, public health and racial equity. MacKenzie recently got married to a science teacher, Dan Jewett.
Alice Walton (U.S., $61.8 billion)
Alice Walton is the daughter of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. She doesn’t actively take part in managing the world’s largest retailer, rather she is more focused on curating art and philanthropy. Alice has a personal art collection that is estimated to be worth millions of dollars. She is the founder and chairperson of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Established in 2011, it was the first major museum in the U.S. since 1974.
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers & family (France, $73.6 billion)
She is the granddaughter of L’Oreal founder Eugene Schueller. Bettencourt Meyers' mother, who died in 2017, passed on this beauty empire to her. She is the chairwoman of Tethys SAS, the holding company that owns 33% of L’Oreal stock. Bettencourt Meyers has been on the company’s board since 1997. She is also the president of the family’s Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, which works on encouraging scientific research and the arts in France.