We Need More, Don't We: Less Than 4% of Forbes' Billionaires List Are Women - The Scene

And no, Kylie Jenner is not on the list.

According to Forbes’ annual world billionaires list, out of the 2,668 billionaires, just 327 are women. Most of them, including the globe’s top three wealthiest women, are heiresses such as L’Oréal’s Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, Walmart’s Alice Walton, and Koch Industries’ Julia Koch.

READ ALSO: Forbes 2022 World’s Billionaires List: Manny Villar Leads 19 Other Filipinos On The List, Including Three Newcomers

Although there’s a large discrepancy between male billionaires versus females, there are even fewer self-made women billionaires (less than 4 percent).

In addition, this year, previous spot-holders like Bumble co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd and Chinese vaping tycoon Kate Wang didn’t make the cut. 

In 2021, Herd became the youngest self-made billionaire at 31 years old when her dating app went public that year. However, Bumble’s conversion of paid users was slow compared to Tinder, its top competitor. 

Herd was a more welcoming name when she was dubbed the title compared to Forbes naming Kylie Jenner the youngest self-made billionaire in 2019.


People across social media platforms weren’t mad that the youngest of the Kardashian siblings grew a significant net worth. However, they argued she wasn’t actually self-made, given her makeup brand, Kylie Cosmetics, had a “headstart” with her family’s fame and existing fortune. 

Despite the self-made women billionaire record being slightly shorter in 2022, there are success stories that hold their spots. Here are five of them, hailing from the US, China, and Switzerland. 

Fan Hongwei

With a net worth of $18.2 billion, Fan Hongwei is the globe’s richest self-made billionaire and the 13th wealthiest woman globally. Hongwei’s fortune is sourced through Hengli Petrochemical, China’s top oil refining and chemical fiber company. 

Rafaela Aponte

In 1970, Switzerland’s Rafaela Aponte founded the Mediterranean Shipping Company with her husband, Gianluigi. Now, it’s the most extensive shipping line globally, with 600 vessels in 155 countries. The couple’s net worth is $16.8 billion—but Forbes reports it could be up to $6.1 billion this year due to the current state of the global supply chain. 

Wu Yajun

With her now ex-husband, former journalist Wu Yajun founded real estate developer Longfor Properties in 1993. Now, they have built 61 retail centers in China. YaJun’s net worth is $15.3 billion after transferring a 44 percent stake of Longfor Properties to her daughter, Cai Xinyi.

Diane Hendricks

Out of the 735 billionaires in the US, ABC Supply’s Diane Hendricks is America’s richest self-made woman. The company is the US’ most significant distributor of roofing materials, which Hendricks co-founded with her late husband, Ken, in 1982. After growing the company from three locations to 811, Hendrick’s net worth is $10.7 billion. 

Judy Love

With her husband, Tom, Judy Love founded Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores in 1964. Despite her net worth amounting to $9.7 billion, Love still serves as the gas station empire’s executive secretary of the business. Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores have over 550 locations across 41 American states. 

Banner photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

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