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Close Up Forbes List 2021: Who Are The 10 Richest Women?

Forbes List 2021: Who Are The 10 Richest Women?

Entrepreneur Susanne Klatten, BMW shareholder and chairwoman of the supervisory board of the UnternehmerTUM GmbH, photographed during the start of the Digital Hub Mobility at the IBM Watson IoT Center in Munich, Germany, 23 February 2017. Photo: Andreas Gebert/dpa | usage worldwide   (Photo by Andreas Gebert/picture alliance via Getty Images)
German billionaire heiress is one of the richest women in the world (Photo: Andreas Gebert/picture alliance via Getty Images)
By Jianne Soriano
By Jianne Soriano
May 10, 2021
Find out the powerhouse women who made it to the Forbes' World's Billionaires List 2021

If you've read our articles on the Forbes' World's Billionaires List 2021 highlighting the richest Asians in the world as well as the youngest billionaires, you'll notice one thing: they're all men. But that doesn't mean that women don't have fortunes worth a billion.

This year's richest list features 328 women, which is up from 241 last year. Women as a whole are worth US$1.53 trillion which is nearly a 60 per cent increase over the past year, adding US$570.7 billion to their wealth.

While the 31-year-old Bumble co-founder, Whitney Wolfe Herd, didn't make it to the top 10 of the overall richest women list, she became the world's youngest self-made woman billionaire when she took the matchmaking app public. Curious to know who else made it to the list? Read on to find out the richest women in the world in 2021.

See also: 4 Malaysians Join Forbes World's Billionaires 2021 List

1/10 Françoise Bettencourt Meyers

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03: President of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers presents the 20th Liliane Bettencourt Prize For "L'Intelligence de ma Main" at Salle Wagram on October 03, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images for Fondation Bettencourt-Schueller)
Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images for Fondation Bettencourt-Schueller

Bettencourt Meyers is the daughter of Liliane Bettencourt and Eugene Schueller, the latter founded the cosmetics brand, L'Oréal. She inherited her wealth from her late mother.

While the cosmetic giant's profits fell six per cent in 2020 due to the pandemic, the stock still rose to 38 per cent a year after. The French billionaire has served on the board of L’Oréal since 1997. She donated US$266 million to repair Notre Dame in Paris after a fire severely damaged it.

Age: 67

Location: France

Net worth: US$73.6 billion

Industry: Beauty

See also: Meet Nikhil Kamath, India's Youngest Billionaire

2/10 Alice Walton

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - JUNE 1: Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, waits onstage during the annual Walmart shareholders meeting event on June 1, 2018 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The shareholders week brings thousands of shareholders and associates from around the world to meet at the company's  global headquarters. (Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images)
Photo: Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images

Walton was previously the world's richest woman and while she lost the top spot to Bettencourt Meyers, Walton still gained US$7.4 billion last year. Walton is the daughter of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart and the heir to its fortune.

During the pandemic, the company's stock rose more than five per cent since mid-March 2020. They then launched free delivery as part of an Amazon Prime-like membership program. This helped boost online sales such as much as 69 per cent. 

Age: 71

Location: USA

Net worth: US$61.8 billion

Industry: Retail

3/10 MacKenzie Scott

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06:  Chief Executive Officer of Amazon Jeff Bezos (L) and MacKenzie Bezos attend the 7th Annual Sean Penn & Friends HAITI RISING Gala benefiting J/P Haitian Relief Organization on January 6, 2018 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for for J/P HRO Gala)
Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for for J/P HRO Gala

Scott's high-profile divorce with Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, was the most expensive in the world until the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce happened.

Scott gave away US$5.8 billion in grants to more than 500 non-profit organisations across the U.S. which supports various causes from racial equity, public health and LGBTQ+ rights—this makes her the biggest philanthropist of the pandemic.

Age: 50

Location: USA

Net worth: US$53 billion

Industry: E-commerce

4/10 Julia Koch

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 07:  (L-R) David Koch, Julia Koch and Emeril Lagasse attend the 2009 Annual Food Allergy Ball at The Waldorf=Astoria on December 7, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic)
Photo: Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic

American socialite and philanthropist Julia Koch is the widow of David Koch, whom she inherited her fortune from when he died in 2019. Koch and her children currently have a 42 per cent stake in the family business, Koch Industries, America's largest private company per revenue last year. Koch serves on the board of directors of the billion-dollar conglomerate while David's older brother, Charles serves as chairman.

Age: 58

Location: USA

Net worth: US$46.4 billion

Industry: Chemicals

5/10 Miriam Adelson

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Dr. Miriam Adelson and Sheldon Adelson attend Friends of The Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Western Region Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 1, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Shahar Azran/Getty Images)
Photo: Shahar Azran/Getty Images

Israeli-American physician Miriam Adelson is the wife of late business magnate, Sheldon Adelson, the founder and previous chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Adelson inherited the fortune owned by her husband after he died and now controls the 56 per cent stake in the casino operator.

Although Adelson is still one of the richest women in the world, the company lost US$985 million in the second quarter of 2020 as the casinos and resorts had to shut down due to lockdowns. It reopened in June 2020 but still reported a US$1.69 billion in net loss which is a far cry from its US$2.7 billion profit the previous year.

Age: 75

Location: USA

Net worth: US$38.2 billion

Industry: Casinos

See also: Asia's Richest 2021: Meet The 10 Youngest Billionaires

6/10 Jacqueline Mars

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 29: (L-R) Shayne Doty, Jacqueline Mars and David Badger attend The International Debutante Ball at The Pierre Hotel on December 29, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Aurora Rose/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Photo: Aurora Rose/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

American heiress Jacqueline Mars and her brother John each own about one-third of Mars Incorporated. The US$40 billion-dollar candy, pet care and food company is known for M&M's and Skittles, which was founded by the Mars sibling's grandfather, Frank C. Mars in 1911.

Age: 81

Location: USA

Net worth: US$31.3 billion

Industry: Food

7/10 Yang Huiyan

Photo: Courtesy of  Forbes
Photo: Courtesy of Forbes

Yang Huiyan is the only one from Asia and the youngest billionaire to make it to this list. She owns about 58 per cent of China-based real estate company, Country Garden Holdings. Since 2007, her father and the company founder Yeung Kwok Keung, has been transferring her equity into the business which added much to her wealth.

Yang also chairs Bright Scholar Education Holdings, a Chinese education company that went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2007.

Age: 39

Location: China

Net worth: US$29.6 billion

Industry: Real estate

See also: Forbes 30 Under 30: 7 Malaysians Honoured On Latest List

8/10 Susanne Klatten

08 June 2018, Germany, Berlin: Businesswoman Susanne Klatten speaking at the Tag des deutschen Familienunternehmens (German Family Business Day). Photo: Sina Schuldt/dpa (Photo by Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Photo: Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty Images

German billionaire heiress, Susanne Klatten is the daughter of Herbert and Johanna Quandt, the former being a German industrialist who is known for saving luxury vehicles company, BMW from the point of bankruptcy. Thanks to BMW's recovery from a slump earlier in the pandemic, US$10.9 billion was added to Klatten's fortune. The company also reported nearly US$119 billion in revenues in 2020 while its stock price increased more than 93 per cent since Mid-March 2020.

The BMW heiress inherited a 12.50 per cent stake following her father's death which now totals to 19.2 per cent after her mother's passing in 2015. Besides her wealth from the German carmaker, she also inherited her late father's 50.1 per cent stake in pharmaceutical and chemicals manufacturer, Atlanta.

Age: 58

Location: Germany

Net worth: US$27.7 billion

Industry: Automobile, pharmaceuticals

9/10 Gina Rinehart

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09:  Gina Rinehart attends day seven of the Australian National Swimming Championships at Sydney Olympic Park  Aquatic Centre on April 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Photo: Matt King/Getty Images

Australian mining magnate and heiress, Gina Rinehart is also Australia's richest person. She currently serves as the executive chairman of Hancock Prospecting, a privately owned mining and agricultural company that her father, Lang Hancock founded. The company was affected during the pandemic but have since been recovering which helped boost Rinehart's estimated 77 per cent stake in the company.

Age: 67

Location: Australia

Net worth: US$23.6 billion

Industry: Mining

10/10 Iris Fontbona

Photo: Courtesy of Forbes
Photo: Courtesy of Forbes

After falling out of the list in 2020, Chilean billionaire Iris Fontbona is rejoining the list of top 10 richest women this year. Fontbana is the widow of Andrónico Luksic, who served as the chairman of Quiñenco, a holding of Luksic Group, one of Chile's largest conglomerates. Fontbana also owns a majority stake in Quiñenco.

Other than that, she and her children control Chilean mining company, Antofagasta which reported a US$5.1 billion in sales in 2020.

Age: 78

Location: Chile

Networth: US$23.3 billion

Industry: Mining

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