Top 10 Richest Women In the World: What They Do & How Much They're Worth (PHOTOS)

Lisa Fogarty | Mar 2, 2015 Breaking

Forbes has just released its annual list of the 500 richest people in the world. Though you won't be the least bit surprised to find famous men like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett reigning supreme at the top of the list, some inspiring women are trailing not so far behind. Through hard work, determination, a great many smart investments made along the way, and yes—in many cases—the right family connections, these 10 women have become the wealthiest on the planet.

 

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  • Christy Walton

    1

    Wal-Mart heir Christy Walton is the richest woman in the world and the eighth richest person, whose wealth is valued at $41.2 billion. The 60-year-old married into the Walton clan and inherited their fortune after husband John died in an airplane crash in 2005. She also has a very human side: her son battled cancer when he was 3. She serves as the co-chair of the Children's Scholarship Fund.

  • Liliane Bettencourt

    2

    Thanks to Liliane Bettencourt, who is the 10th richest woman in the world and the richest woman in Europe, a whole lot of women look and feel more beautiful. Her father founded L'Oreal in 1907 and Liliane managed the company's business for many years until she was replaced by her grandson in 2012 after suffering dementia. At 92, she is worth $40.9 billion.

  • Alice Walton

    3

    Another Walton made the list—a fact that shouldn't surprise anyone given the Wal-Mart fortune. Alice Walton, the 65-year-old daughter of Sam Walton, who founded the company in 1962, is worth $38.7 billion and is the 11th richest person in the world. Walton is an art enthusiast and the chair of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

  • Jacqueline Mars

    4

    Jacqueline Mars' grandfather started Mars candy in his Washington kitchen—and actually created the nougat center inside of Snickers and Milky Way bars. Since then, the 75-year-old candy heir and her two brothers have sat on the board of the sweet company, where she has accumulated a $27.2 billion fortune. She is the 22nd wealthiest person in the world. You may have heard the heiress' name in recent times: last year, she was charged with reckless driving after she reportedly fell aleep at the wheel and killed a woman driving in a minivan.

  • Maria Franca Fissolo

    5

    This is Maria Franca Fissolo's first year on the Forbes list, and for a sad reason: her husband Michele Ferrero—responsible for Nutella, the most heavenly of treats—died in February and left the 97-year-old and their son with $23.4 billion. She's the 32nd richest person in the world and the fifth richest woman.

  • Laurene Powell Jobs

    6

    Laurene Powell Jobs is Steve Jobs' widow, and the 45th richest person in the galaxy. Her net worth is $19.5 billion and she is involved in several social reform programs, including Emerson Collective and College Track, which helps students finish college.

  • Anne Cox Chambers

    7

    Anne Cox Chambers is the 53rd richest person with a net worth of $17.1 billion. The 95-year-old is the daughter of Cox Enterprises founder James M. Cox, who made a killing in media and owns the third-largest cable operator, newspapers, TV networks, radio stations, and even automobile giants like Kelley Blue Book.

  • Susanne Klatten

    8

    German native Susanne Klatten, 52, became the 54th richest person in the world and the wealthiest woman in Germany by inheriting a percentage of BMW from her father. She then made billions in pharmaceuticals and is now worth $17.2 billion. Klatten was involved in a scandal in 2008 in which three men tried to extort money from her by threatening to sell alleged sex tapes of her to the press. They have since been arrested.

  • Gina Rinehart

    9

    Image via Paul Kane/Getty Images

    Australian Gina Rinehart, 61, is worth $12.6, an amount she amassed by both inheriting mining ores from her family and controlling Hancock Prospecting, which also has a stake in oil and gas. She is the 94th richest person in the world.

  • Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken

    10

    Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, 60, controls 25 percent of Heineken, thanks to her father. But she's getting by on her own merits, as well. Worth $12.1 billion, she made it to number 107 on the Forbes list by taking control of the business after her father's death in 2002 and making some very shrewd business decisions.

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