Top Richest Woman in the World: Inherited or Self-Made?

Top Richest Woman In The World

The list of the world’s top richest people features quite a few women, including Alice Walton being the top richest woman in the world, and the 9th richest person in the world altogether. Read on as we take a look at the top richest women in the world and how they amassed their wealth – did they inherit it, or build their empires from scratch?

Women Who Inherited their Wealth

Person Inheriting Wealth

These women managed to attain their wealth by inheriting empires established long before them:

Alice Walton

Alice Walton - Heiress Of Walmart

With a net worth of USD 54.4 billion, Alice Walton is the heiress of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. She currently does not play any role in Walmart and spends her time pursuing her passions, which include horses and art. Among her many ventures is the Crystal Bridges Museum, where she displays artwork from her favorite artists and some philanthropic activities as well.

Francoise Bettencourt

L’Oreal Building - Francoise Bettencourt

Heiress to the L’Oreal Empire, Francoise Bettencourt has a net worth of USD 48.9 billion dollars. This has been after a 12% drop in the company’s shares, which dropped her net worth by around USD 10 billion. Her life story is one for the books and shows that wealth doesn’t necessarily mean a glamorous and happy life. She has had to deal with family struggles to receive her rightful inheritance. Since then, she has focused on her career as an author and being a member of the board of the giant beauty empire.

Jacqueline Mars

Jacqueline Mars - Mars

If you’ve ever enjoyed a Mars Bar or a Milky Way, you now know who to thank. With a net worth of USD 37.8 billion, Jacqueline Mars is the granddaughter of the owner of Mars and shares the M&Ms and Snickers Empire with her brothers and her nieces. Although she has retired now, she spent 20 years working for the company as a Food Product Group President. Her legacy continues as her son is now a chairperson of the board.

Women Who Attained their Wealth in Settlements

The top richest woman in the world doesn’t necessarily have the get her money in the form of inheritance. The following woman made it to the top rankings of the richest women in the world through the money she obtained in her divorce settlement (combined with her personal wealth).

Mackenzie Bezos

Animated Image Of Mackenzie Bezos

The Bezos-es have made headlines many times over the years, and while the name Jeff Bezos always pops up alongside the name Amazon, the empire now has a new name on the frontline: Mackenzie Bezos. She managed to attain a net worth of USD 45.4 billion after securing a 4% stake in Amazon. She holds in her merit, a Princeton degree, two published novels, and is also the founder of an anti-bullying organization known as Bystander Revolution.

Women Who Are Self-Made Billionaires

Silhouette Of Jumping Women

These women have made it to the list of the richest women across the globe by starting their own ventures and more.

Zhong Huijuan

Zhong Huijuan In Pharmaceuticals

Known to be the richest self-made woman in all of Asia, Zhong Huijuan has been pivotal in breaking the glass ceiling for women. Once a chemistry teacher, she chairs the Hansoh Pharmaceutical Company, which is also listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Her company manufactures a range of drugs, including those for oncology, treating diabetes, and psychoactive drugs.

Wu Yajun

With an estimated net worth of USD 13.9 billion, Wu Yajun is the founder of Longfor Properties. Wu started out as an engineer, moved on into journalism, and then finally founded her real estate company alongside her now ex-husband. Her work involves shopping mall real estate, with hundreds of millions of people visiting her properties.


 Centuries-Old Empire

The title for the top richest woman in the world has, at least in recent years, been passed back and forth between Alice Warton and Francoise Bettencourt. Is this a sign that empires established decades ago with wealth being passed down among generations are likely to lead to more wealth than women who created their own legacies? With changing times, many women, like Zhong Huijuan, have shown that these barriers are being broken, and with the right opportunities and innovation, new legacies are being made with every passing year.