The Forbes List of Billionaires is Lacking Women

The Forbes list of richest people is something that we wait for with anticipation every year. Of course we have to see if Bill Gates is still at the top of the list or if he’s been passed up again by Carlos Slim Helu. We have to compare how Warren Buffet is fairing next to Amancio Ortega. Did one of the Koch brothers go behind the other’s back and make an extra billion, pulling himself ahead on the list? And certainly we have to check for any up-and-coming moguls making their way up the list out of leftfield, Zuckerberg style.

One thing you’ll notice though about all of this shameless Forbes list scrutinizing is that the majority of the billionaires that we are obsessing over are men. In fact, the large majority.

With successful women like Oprah always making headlines for their self-made billionaire status it might be easy to oversee the lack of women at the top. We may not be number one but we’re on our way, right?

In fact, there are some women at the top of the list. Christy Walton, of the Walmart company, is all the way up there holding down the #11 slot. However, similar to Christy Walton all of the top five richest women inherited their wealth from a self-made billionaire man.

Let’s take a look:

  • Christy Walton ($23.5 billion) – Walton inherited her wealth from the huge successes of Walmart. Tragically, she came into so much wealth herself after her husband John Walton, the son of the founder Sam Walton, died in a plane crash in 2006. Though Walton has certainly done some impressive things with her many billions, she did not make the money on her own.
  • Alice Walton ($23.3 billion) – Worth slightly less than her sister-in-law (we’re talking billionaire standards here), Alice Walton is the daughter of Sam Walton. She inherited her wealth from the same place as Christy Walton – the Walmart fortune.
  • Jacqueline Mars ($13.8 billion) – Jacqueline Mars inherited most of her wealth as the granddaughter of Frank Mars, who founded the Mars company. It pays to be involved with one of the world’s most loved candy companies!
  • Anne Cox Chambers ($12.5 billion) – Anne Cox chambers inherited her wealth as the daughter of James Cox who founded Cox enterprises. The company is currently leading in the industries of communications, media, and automotive services.
  • Abigail Johnson ($10.3 billion) – Abigail Johnson’s father controls Fidelity Investment. Though she has worked there herself since the 80s, she again has inherited most of her wealth from her father.
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So that makes us wonder – where are all of the self-made billionaire women on this list? In fact, the women are so far and few between that Forbes had to go ahead and dedicate a separate list to highlight the achievements of self-made billionaire women. Forbes also points out that almost all men who are billionaires got there on their own, not through inheritance.

One theory as to why there are so few women at the top could be that it takes awhile to make billions, lifetimes in many cases. Since women haven’t been actively integrated into the workforce for too long the shortage of time could be to blame for their inability to make money at the same rate as men. Another reason, and a likely one, could be that women simply face discrimination in the workplace keeping them from seeing the same amount of success as men.

It’s certainly going to be awhile before we see the type of innovation that will lead to wealth rivaling that of billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. That being said, how long do you think that self-made billionaire women will climb the ranks of Forbes list?

Leave a comment and let us know why you think
women aren’t higher up on the Forbes list!


Category: Financial News

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