Women are taking their place among the world’s billionaires.
The top 20 women who made Forbes 2012 list of the world’s wealthiest people are worth a combined $248.6 billion. And while just 104 of the 1,226 people worldwide worth $1 billion or more this year are women, that represents a huge advance from 2002, when a mere 36 women made the Forbes list of global billionaires.
Americans make up the largest number of female billionaires with seven out of the top 20.
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) heiress Christy Walton remains the richest woman in the world for the seventh consecutive year, with a fortune topping $25 billion.
Many women on the list inherited their fortunes, though several, like Chinese real estate developer Wu Yajun (No. 18), have managed or built their way to success.
Here are the 10 richest women in the world, according to Forbes:
|RK||Name||Nationality||Claim to Riches||Worth|
|1||Christy Walton||American||Heir to Wal-Mart fortune||$25.3B|
|2||Liliane Bettencourt||French||Heir to L’Oreal cosmetics
|3||Alice Walton||American||Heir to Wal-Mart fortune||$23.3B|
|4||Georgina Rinehart||Australian||Heir to Hancock mining
|5||Iris Fontbona||Chilean||Heir to Luksic mining fortune||$17.8B|
|6||Birgit Rausing||Swedish||Inherited packaging
giant Tetra Laval
|7||Jacqueline Mars||American||Heir to Mars candy empire||$13.8B|
|8||Susanne Klatten||German||Heir to stakes in BMW
|9||Anne Cox Chambers||American||Heir to Cox Enterprises||$12.5B|
|10||Savitri Jindal||Indian||Inherited share of family’s