Meet the world's wealthiest women: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's ex-wife MacKenzie Scott lands the fifth spot in Forbes' list of richest ladies after giving away more than $17.3 BILLION (but her fortune PALES in comparison to the top spot holder)

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  • There are 2,781 billionaires across the world worth a combined $14.2 trillion 
  • But it is more than an old boy’s club with a handful of women holding their own
  • These women are thriving across industries from mining to gambling to beauty

There are a record 2,781 billionaires across the globe who are worth a combined $14.2 trillion – but it is now more than just an old boy’s club.

Forbes released its annual Billionaire’s List earlier today and it features a handful of women who have held their own among the world’s richest people.

They have thrived across a whole host of industries from mining and gambling to beauty and technology.

Here, FEMAIL has rounded up the top 10 richest businesswomen across the globe to give an insight into how they made their fortunes. 

 

10. Abigail Johnson ($29 billion)

Abigail Johnson, 62, is the 10th richest woman in the world thanks to her $29 billion fortune. It places her as 58th wealthiest on the list overall.

The businesswoman has served as CEO of fund management giant Fidelity Investments since 2014 when she took over from her then 84-year-old father Ned.

Abigail, who received a Harvard M.B.A, had worked summers at Fidelity throughout college before joining as a full-time analyst in 1988. 

She is the third generation of the family to lead the firm which was founded by her grandfather in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1946.

Abigail Johnson, 62, is the 10th richest woman in the world thanks to her $29 billion fortune. It places her as 58th wealthiest on the list overall

Abigail Johnson, 62, is the 10th richest woman in the world thanks to her $29 billion fortune. It places her as 58th wealthiest on the list overall

Abigail, who also took over as chairman in 2016, owns an estimated 28.5 per cent stake of the firm which manages discretionary assets totaling $4.5 trillion, according to Forbes. 

She is said to have embraced cryptocurrencies during her tenure at the firm and launched a platform in 2018 that allows institutional investors to trade bitcoin.

Before joining the firm, she worked at management consultant Booz Allen Hamilton where she met healthcare entrepreneur husband Christopher McKown. 

The couple now share two children and were previously living in a seven-bedroom house on a wooded 5.6-acre estate that belonged to her grandfather, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

 

9. Gina Rinehart ($30.8 billion)

Australia’s richest person is Gina Rinehart who is worth an impressive $30.8 billion. She ranks 56th overall in the rich list.

Her father Lang Hancock, who was an iron ore explorer, had set up a company that was struggling financially until Gina took the reins. 

She became executive chairwoman in 1992 and built up the Hancock Prospecting mining conglomerate.

The company’s biggest asset is the Roy Hill mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region which started shipments to Asia in 2015. 

Australia's richest person is Gina Rinehart who is worth an impressive $30.8 billion. She ranks 56th overall in the rich list

Australia’s richest person is Gina Rinehart who is worth an impressive $30.8 billion. She ranks 56th overall in the rich list

Earlier this month, it was reported that Hancock Prospecting, which is 76.6 per cent owned by Gina and 23.4 per cent by the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust, has about $20billion on its books.

It has been buying stocks in the lithium industry recently, notably Azure Minerals and Liontown Resources, banking on an increased demand for the mineral used in batteries as the switch to renewable electricity ramps up.

In addition to multiple mining projects the company invests in farming through its Hancock Agriculture arm. It has in recent years focused on high-value Wagyu beef production and is now Australia’s second-largest cattle producer.

She has also bought iconic fashion brands Driza-Bone and Rossi Boots.

 

8. Miriam Adelson ($32 billion)

Physician Miriam Adelson ranks as 53rd richest person in the world and boasts a net worth of $32 billion.

The 78-year-old, who was born in Israel, is the widow of Sheldon Adelson – the former CEO and chairman of casino company Las Vegas Sands – who died aged 87 in 2021.

She obtained American citizenship after tying the knot with the tycoon in 1991 and has been the family’s main voice since her late husband’s death.

Forbes states that Miriam and her family now own more than half of the New York Stock Exchange-listed gambling empire.

Physician Miriam Adelson ranks as 53rd richest person in the world and boasts a net worth of $32 billion

Physician Miriam Adelson ranks as 53rd richest person in the world and boasts a net worth of $32 billion

The couple previously donated over $281 million to Republican and conservative issues, according to The Center for Responsive Politics.

They donated to the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign, his presidential inauguration, his defense fund against the Mueller investigation into Russian interference and the 2020 campaign.

In February 2022, Sands Corp. made headlines when it sold its flagship Venetian resorts to Apollo Global Management.

The family have since reportedly snapped up a majority stake in basketball team Dallas Mavericks and still owns The Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.

 

7. Rafaela Aponte-Diamant (33.1 billion)

Rafaela Aponte-Diamant, from Geneva, Switzerland, is worth $33.1 billion – coming in at 48th richest person.

She owns a 50 per cent stake in MSC – the world’s largest shipping line – along with husband Gianluigi.

The couple first met in the 1960s on a sun-soaked holiday on the Italian island of Capri when Gianluigi was a ship captain responsible for ferrying tourists.

Together they entered the shipping industry after purchasing their first vessel – a small cargo vessel named Patricia – with a $200,000 loan in 1970.

Rafaela Aponte-Diamant, from Geneva, Switzerland, (pictured alongside her husband) is worth $33.1 billion - coming in at 48th richest person

Rafaela Aponte-Diamant, from Geneva, Switzerland, (pictured alongside her husband) is worth $33.1 billion – coming in at 48th richest person

By 1979, the duo had accumulated 17 ships and continued to grow their business to incorporate holiday cruises, inland logistics and port operations, according to Forbes.

To this day, Gianluigi remains the firm’s executive chairman and son Diego acts as president. 

Rafaela, who is the daughter of an Israeli banker, serves on the board of the MSC Foundation but holds no other ‘formal position.’

The now 74-year-old is said to be responsible for decorating the cruise ships.

 

6. Savitri Jindal ($33.5 billion)

The richest woman in India is Savitri Jindal with a net worth of $33.5 billion.

She comes in at 46th wealthiest person overall.

The Jindal Group – a conglomerate based in New Delhi – was founded by Savitri’s husband Om Prakash Jindal. 

It specializes in power and steel but also has assets in other industries such as mining, power generation, industrial gases and port facilities.

The richest woman in India is Savitri Jindal with a net worth of $33.5 billion. She comes in at 46th wealthiest person overall

The richest woman in India is Savitri Jindal with a net worth of $33.5 billion. She comes in at 46th wealthiest person overall

O.P. Jindal died in a helicopter crash in 2005 after the aircraft ‘developed a snag,’ according to local reports.

Following his death, the companies were divided between his four sons who now run them independently.

The biggest assets of the group are overseen by Savitri’s Mumbai-based son Sajjan Jindal who took part of the business public in September 2023.

Elsewhere, Savitri, now 74, has been inducted into India’s congress government twice before – once as the Power Minister and again as Urban Local Bodies Minister.

 

5. MacKenzie Scott ($36.5 billion)

The ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Scott, is worth $36.5 billion – coming in at 43rd overall on the rich list.

The couple were married for 25 years but she walked away with a four per cent stake in the online retailer following their divorce in 2019.

MacKenzie, a 53-year-old novelist, joined the ranks of the world’s ultra-wealthy philanthropists as a signatory of the Giving Pledge at the time as she promised to donate half her fortune to charity over the course of her lifetime.

She set up a website called Yield Giving which states that, to date, has given more than $17.3 billion to over 2,300 non-profit organizations.

The ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Scott, is worth $36.5 billion - coming in at 43rd overall on the rich list

The ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Scott, is worth $36.5 billion – coming in at 43rd overall on the rich list

Earlier this year, it was revealed that the philanthropist had channeled a hefty chunk of her money to extreme left-wing ‘gender-identity’ groups and migrant-advocacy nonprofits – including one that said Ron DeSantis and his anti-immigration policies ‘must be stopped.’

Elsewhere, MacKenzie had tied the knot again with second husband high school chemistry teacher Dan Jewett – but filed for divorce in 2022.

According to the petition, a division of property was to be ‘laid out in a separation contract’ that the pair agreed on. The contract was not made public and Dan did not contest the divorce, court records said.

Jeff, 60, has himself also found love again with 54-year-old media personality Lauren Sanchez.

 

4. Jacqueline Mars ($38.5 billion)

Jacqueline Mars also made Forbes’ list with a wealth of $38.5 billion. She ranked 35th overall.

Her grandfather Frank Mars got his business off the ground by making chocolates in his Tacoma, Washington, kitchen in 1911.

In 1929, the company invented the signature malt-flavored nougat, which became the filing of Milky Way and Snickers candy bars – and business boomed.

Jacqueline, 84, now owns an estimated one-third of the Mars empire – having worked for the company for nearly 20 years. She served on the board until 2016 with son Stephen Badger also now a director.

Jacqueline Mars also made Forbes' list with a wealth of $38.5 billion. She ranked 35th overall

Jacqueline Mars also made Forbes’ list with a wealth of $38.5 billion. She ranked 35th overall

Her brother John owns another estimated third of the company with her late brother Forrest Jr.’s four daughters claiming the rest.  

In 2013, Jacqueline found herself engulfed in scandal after she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving in connection with a fatal accident in which a grandmother and an unborn baby were killed.

She had her driving license suspended for six months and was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine during a hearing in Loudoun County General District Court, Virginia.

The judge could have sentenced Mars to a year on the misdemeanor charge but the family of victim Irene Ellisor asked the judge not to throw Jacqueline in jail.

 

3. Julia Koch ($64.3 billion) 

Julia Koch, 61, is worth $64.3 billion – placing her at 23rd in the entire list of billionaires.

She and her three children inherited a 42 per cent stake in Koch Industries from husband David following his death from prostate cancer aged 79 in 2019.

David, who worked as a chemical engineer and businessman, joined his family business in 1970 and grew it to the second largest privately held company in the United States.

Julia, who moved from Iowa to New York City in the 1980s, started out as an assistant to fashion designer Adolfo – working with a whole host of high-profile clients including Nancy Reagan.

Julia Koch, 61, is worth $64.3 billion - placing her at 23rd in the entire list of billionaires

Julia Koch, 61, is worth $64.3 billion – placing her at 23rd in the entire list of billionaires

She first met David on a blind date in 1991 before eventually tying the knot five years later.

Julia now serves as president of the David H. Koch Foundation – a nonprofit committed to advancing the philanthropic legacy of her husband to ‘enrich the lives of individuals around the world through science and medical research, education, public policy, and the arts,’ as per their website.

The couple previously donated $10 million to Mount Sinai Medical Center, $10 million to Stanford Children’s Hospital to study food allergies and $3 million to NYU Langone’s orthopedic branch.

The mom-of-three is also a ‘devoted patron of the arts.’ She previously served on the Board of Directors for the School of American Ballet where she annually chaired two of the school’s most popular benefits – Nutcracker Family Benefit and Winter Ball.

 

2. Alice Walton ($72.3 billion)

Alice Walton, who is the only daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is said to be worth $72.3 billion. She secured 21st slot on the list of all billionaires. 

Her brothers – Rob and Jim – entered into the family business but Alice bucked the trend and instead turned her attentions to curating art after purchasing her first piece when she was just 10 years old.

This interest led to her spearheading the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art which opened to the public in her hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2011.

Alice, who was previously issued with a drunk driving citation that was later dropped, is said to have gifted her own art collection to form the basis of the exhibits and spent over $300million building the institution.

Alice Walton, who is the only daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is said to be worth $72.3 billion

Alice Walton, who is the only daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is said to be worth $72.3 billion

It now features the works from the likes of Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Norman Rockwell.

The museum’s website describes Alice as being a philanthropist who is ‘committed to increasing access to arts, improving education, enhancing health, and advancing economic opportunity for all.’

She also bred horses for more than a decade on a ranch in Texas, which she sold in 2015, having owned six championship horses over the years. 

In 2022, the holistic health institute that she founded in Bentonville the previous year was renamed the Alice L. Walton School of Medicine.

 

1. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers ($99.5 billion)

The richest woman in the world is Francoise Bettencourt Meyers – the granddaughter of the founder of L’Oreal – who is worth a staggering $99.5 billion. She comes in at 15th on the list of all billionaires.  

The French businesswoman, 70, and her family own more than a third of the publicly traded beauty brand which was founded in 1909.

She has served on the board of L’Oreal since 1997 and remains the chairwoman of the family holding company with her sons – Jean-Victor Meyers and Nicholas Meyers – also acting as directors.

Francoise inherited her immense wealth after her mother Liliane Bettencourt, then the world’s richest woman, died aged 94 in 2017. 

The richest woman in the world is Francoise Bettencourt Meyers - the granddaughter of the founder of L'Oreal - who is worth a staggering $99.5 billion

The richest woman in the world is Francoise Bettencourt Meyers – the granddaughter of the founder of L’Oreal – who is worth a staggering $99.5 billion

Her death came a huge legal battle which developed into a political scandal over whether she was able to manage the family’s fortune.

Francoise has reportedly written two books – one on the Bible and the other on Greek gods – and plays the piano for hours a day.

The reclusive billionaire is also a champion of philanthropic causes, largely through her family’s foundation.

The Bettencourt Meyers family and L’Oreal even donated $226 million to repair Notre Dame Cathedral following the April 2019 fire.