Forbes‘ 2015 list of world billionaires reveals the richest woman among them to be the widow of the late John T. Walton, Christy Walton, who takes the title of Forbes‘ richest woman for the fifth time in the last six years.
Christy inherited $18.2 billion when her husband died in a plane crash in 2005. John T. Walton was the son of Walmart founder, Sam Walton. Forbes‘ richest woman now has an estimated net worth of $41.7 billion (up from $36.7 billion last year). Co-Chair of the Children’s Scholarship Fund, 60-year old Ms. Walton ranks #8 in the total list of Forbes’ world billionaires, with 92-year old L’Oréal heiress, Lilianne Bettencourt, at #9 with a net worth of $41.1 billion.
20 richest women in 2015: 1. Christy Walton 2. Liliane Bettencourt 3. Alice Walton http://t.co/ej0gaaGgp5
— Forbes (@Forbes) March 2, 2015
Meanwhile, Christy’s sister-in-law, Alice Walton, is ranked #11 in the world and is estimated to be worth $38.7 billion, while Steve Jobs’ widow, Lauren Powell Jobs, is placed #6 of Forbes‘ richest women, with a net worth of circa $19.8 billion. The richest person on the planet is Bill Gates, with an estimated net worth of $79.5 billion. The Forbes report highlights how far women still have yet to go in the extreme wealth stakes.
“Of a total 1,826 billionaires, 197 are women, up from 172 in 2014.”
That is to say, Forbes‘ richest woman and her female peers make up only 11% of the total wealthiest people in the world. Further, only 29 of the 197 are self-made, Christy Walton and the many others having inherited their money from husbands or fathers. Notably, of the entrepreneurs among the ladies, Elizabeth Holmes leads the way with an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion, while her company, Theranos, was valued at $9 billion last year. The 31-year old Stanford drop-out reached this pinacle of professionalism on the simple idea of better blood testing from but a single drop of blood.
— Catapult (@WeCatapult) March 2, 2015
As Jobs & Hire reported, a fair chunk of Forbes‘ richest woman’s fortune came not from the Walmart family business, but rather from her late husband’s investment in FirstSolar, a leading company in photovoltaic solar energy solutions. This green bent seems to run in the family, Ms. Walton’s 29-year old son, Lukas, having studied Environmentally Sustainable Business in college and now working as a partner at Cuna Del Mar, a private equity firm with a focus on open ocean aquaculture.
Forbes‘ richest woman Ms. Walton has not always been looked on kindly by those less fortunate than herself. In 2010, as the Independent reported, Christy came under fire for failing to sign up to Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s The Living Pledge, wherein billionaires swore to give at least half of their wealth away to charitable causes (despite being mentioned favorably as an avid philanthropist on Condé Nast’s Giving Index that same year). Instead, in 2013 Ms. Walton produced the film adaptation of Rudolfo Anaya’s novel, Bless Me, Ultima, and sold her famously luxurious Jackson’s Hole, Wyoming property in late 2014 for around $12.5 million.
The Walton Family ( owner of Walmart) Vs The Combined Wealth of 41.5% of the population of America pic.twitter.com/9XH2biRZet
— My Daughter’s Army (@mydaughtersarmy) March 2, 2015
As the Inquisitr reported, the names of Forbes’ richest women might not ring any bells with the younger generation, who are more celebrity-focused in their estimations of success, but certainly the more entrepreneurial of the ladies mentioned by Forbes should be taken as role models. Even Christy Walton herself, Forbes‘ richest woman 2015, works to provide educational funding for those in need. Ms. Walton might not be self-made, but the Walton heiress does her part.
— topcoder (@topcoder) March 2, 2015
International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8 and this year’s theme is “Make It Happen”. With only 11% of Forbes’ world billionaires being of the XX chromosome, surely an increase in financially successful – not to mention, independent – women, even on the more modest scale of the rest of the population, should be one goal for the year ahead.
[Image courtesy of Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]