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The World's Wealthiest Women Are a Rare Breed

Women make up just 13% of the 500 richest people on earth.


The World’s Wealthiest Women Are a Rare Breed

By Devon PendletonDevon Pendleton and Christopher CannonChristopher Cannon

There’s a lopsided gender ratio at the top of the world’s wealth pyramid. Women make up just 13 percent of the 500 richest people and only seven—a mere 1.4 percent of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index—are self-made. Men who built their own fortunes comprise 63 percent.

49.6%

of the world’s

population is

female...

12.8%

of the world’s 500

richest people are

women; self-made

women make up

only 1.4%.

49.6%

of the world’s population is

female...

12.8%

of the world’s 500 richest people

are women; self-made women

make up only 1.4%.

49.6%

of the world’s population is female...

12.8%

of the world’s 500 richest people are women;

self-made women make up only 1.4%.

It’s a magnified reflection of what’s happening further down. Of the $1.1 trillion in technology wealth represented on the index, less than 2 percent is controlled by women. That’s significant because the tech industry is the biggest engine of wealth creation among the world’s richest people. Last year, tech billionaires added $258 billion to their fortunes, a surge that benefited just three women on the index.

Wealth Gap

The 500 members of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, in order of net worth

Male

Female

Self-made

Male

Female

Self-made

Male

Female

Self-made

#156

#208

#249

#254

#295

#444

#451

Male

Female

Self-made

#156

#208

#249

#254

#295

#444

#451

The World’s Seven Richest Self-Made Women

$9.7B

Zhou Qunfei / #156

China / Technology

Age: 48

$15

B

12

9

6

1/3/17

3/6/18

China’s richest woman is chairman of Lens Technology, a publicly traded consumer electronics supplier. The Liuyang, China-based business makes glass covers for cellphones, computers and cameras, and reported revenue of 15.1 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) in 2016. Apple and Samsung are among its biggest customers.

$7.6B

Wu Yajun / #208

China / Real Estate

Age: 53

$10

B

8

6

4

2

1/3/17

3/6/18

Wu is chairman and largest shareholder of Longfor Properties, a Chinese developer of commercial and residential property. The Beijing-based company operates in more than 35 cities under brands including Paradise Walk, Starry Street and Moco. It reported revenue of 54.8 billion yuan ($8.3 billion) in 2016.

$6.6B

Ingrid Wu / #249

China / Technology

Age: 48

$7

B

5

3

1/3/17

3/6/18

Wu is co-founder of AAC Technologies Holdings, a mobile phone component maker with revenue of 15.5 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) in 2016. The Shenzhen-based company builds miniaturized speakers and receivers for clients including Apple and Samsung. Wu co-founded the publicly traded business with her husband Pan Zhengmin in 1993.

$6.6B

Marian Ilitch / #254

United States / Food & Beverage

Age: 85

$8

B

7

6

5

1/3/17

3/6/18

Ilitch owns Little Caesars, the third-largest pizza chain in the U.S. The Detroit-based company had more than 3,600 outlets and retail sales of $3.9 billion in 2016. Her husband and co-founder, Michael, died in February 2017. The Ilitch family also controls Detroit’s Motor City Casino, Tigers and Red Wings sports teams, and Olympia Entertainment.

$6.0B

Pollyanna Chu / #295

Hong Kong / Finance

Age: 59

$10

B

6

2

1/3/17

3/6/18

Chu is the co-founder and largest shareholder of Kingston Financial Group, a diversified asset management and entertainment business. The Hong Kong-based company had revenue of HK$2.9 billion ($371 million) in the year ended March 31, 2017. Kingston provides financing services and operates hotels and casinos in Macau.

$4.5B

Judy Love / #444

United States / Retail

Age: unknown

$5

B

4

1/3/17

3/6/18

Love is the co-founder of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, a U.S. fuel and consumer products business. The Oklahoma City-based company is closely held and owns a diversified chain of convenience stores, gas stations and logistics operations with more than 430 locations in 41 states. The company had revenue of $16 billion in 2016.

$4.5B

Judy Faulkner / #451

United States / Technology

Age: 74

$6

B

5

4

3

1/3/17

3/6/18

Faulkner is founder and chief executive officer of Epic Systems, a closely held supplier of health record software to hospitals. The Verona, Wisconsin-based company’s clients include the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. It provides records for about 190 million patients and had revenue of $2.5 billion in 2016.

$9.7B

Zhou Qunfei / #156

China / Technology

Age: 48

$7.6B

Wu Yajun / #208

China / Real Estate

Age: 53

$10

B

$15

B

8

12

6

9

4

2

6

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

Wu is chairman and largest shareholder of Longfor Properties, a Chinese developer of commercial and residential property. The Beijing-based company operates in more than 35 cities under brands including Paradise Walk, Starry Street and Moco. It reported revenue of 54.8 billion yuan ($8.3 billion) in 2016.

China’s richest woman is chairman of Lens Technology, a publicly traded consumer electronics supplier. The Liuyang, China-based business makes glass covers for cellphones, computers and cameras, and reported revenue of 15.1 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) in 2016. Apple and Samsung are among its biggest customers.

$6.6B

Marian Ilitch / #254

United States / Food & Beverage

Age: 85

$6.6B

Ingrid Wu / #249

China / Technology

Age: 48

$8

B

$7

B

7

5

6

5

3

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

Ilitch owns Little Caesars, the third-largest pizza chain in the U.S. The Detroit-based company had more than 3,600 outlets and retail sales of $3.9 billion in 2016. Her husband and co-founder, Michael, died in February 2017. The Ilitch family also controls Detroit’s Motor City Casino, Tigers and Red Wings sports teams, and Olympia Entertainment.

Wu is co-founder of AAC Technologies Holdings, a mobile phone component maker with revenue of 15.5 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) in 2016. The Shenzhen-

based company builds miniaturized speakers and receivers for clients including Apple and Samsung. Wu co-founded the publicly traded business with her husband Pan Zhengmin in 1993.

$6.0B

Pollyanna Chu / #295

Hong Kong / Finance

Age: 59

$4.5B

Judy Love / #444

United States / Retail

Age: unknown

$5

B

$10

B

6

4

2

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

Love is the co-founder of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, a U.S. fuel and consumer products business. The Oklahoma City-based company is closely held and owns a diversified chain of convenience stores, gas stations and logistics operations with more than 430 locations in 41 states. The company had revenue of $16 billion in 2016.

Chu is the co-founder and largest shareholder of Kingston Financial Group, a diversified asset management and entertainment business. The Hong Kong-based company had revenue of HK$2.9 billion ($371 million) in the year ended March 31, 2017. Kingston provides financing services and operates hotels and casinos in Macau.

$4.5B

Judy Faulkner / #451

United States / Technology

Age: 74

$6

B

5

4

3

1/3/17

3/6/18

Faulkner is founder and chief executive officer of Epic Systems, a closely held supplier of health record software to hospitals. The Verona, Wisconsin-based company’s clients include the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. It provides records for about 190 million patients and had revenue of $2.5 billion in 2016.

$9.7B

Zhou Qunfei / #156

China / Technology

Age: 48

$7.6B

Wu Yajun / #208

China / Real Estate

Age: 53

$6.6B

Ingrid Wu / #249

China / Technology

Age: 48

$10

B

$15

B

$7

B

8

12

6

5

9

4

2

6

3

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

Wu is chairman and largest shareholder of Longfor Properties, a Chinese developer of commercial and residential property. The Beijing-based company operates in more than 35 cities under brands including Paradise Walk, Starry Street and Moco. It reported revenue of 54.8 billion yuan ($8.3 billion) in 2016.

Wu is co-founder of AAC Technologies Holdings, a mobile phone component maker with revenue of 15.5 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) in 2016. The Shenzhen-

based company builds miniaturized speakers and receivers for clients including Apple and Samsung. Wu co-founded the publicly traded business with her husband Pan Zhengmin in 1993.

China’s richest woman is chairman of Lens Technology, a publicly traded consumer electronics supplier. The Liuyang, China-based business makes glass covers for cellphones, computers and cameras, and reported revenue of 15.1 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) in 2016. Apple and Samsung are among its biggest customers.

$6.6B

Marian Ilitch / #254

United States / Food & Beverage

Age: 85

$6.0B

Pollyanna Chu / #295

Hong Kong / Finance

Age: 59

$4.5B

Judy Love / #444

United States / Retail

Age: unknown

$5

B

$8

B

$10

B

7

6

6

4

2

5

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

Ilitch owns Little Caesars, the third-largest pizza chain in the U.S. The Detroit-based company had more than 3,600 outlets and retail sales of $3.9 billion in 2016. Her husband and co-founder, Michael, died in February 2017. The Ilitch family also controls Detroit’s Motor City Casino, Tigers and Red Wings sports teams, and Olympia Entertainment.

Love is the co-founder of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, a U.S. fuel and consumer products business. The Oklahoma City-based company is closely held and owns a diversified chain of convenience stores, gas stations and logistics operations with more than 430 locations in 41 states. The company had revenue of $16 billion in 2016.

Chu is the co-founder and largest shareholder of Kingston Financial Group, a diversified asset management and entertainment business. The Hong Kong-based company had revenue of HK$2.9 billion ($371 million) in the year ended March 31, 2017. Kingston provides financing services and operates hotels and casinos in Macau.

$4.5B

Judy Faulkner / #451

United States / Technology

Age: 74

$6

B

5

4

3

1/3/17

3/6/18

Faulkner is founder and chief executive officer of Epic Systems, a closely held supplier of health record software to hospitals. The Verona, Wisconsin-based company’s clients include the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. It provides records for about 190 million patients and had revenue of $2.5 billion in 2016.

$9.7B

Zhou Qunfei / #156

China / Technology

Age: 48

$7.6B

Wu Yajun / #208

China / Real Estate

Age: 53

$6.6B

Ingrid Wu / #249

China / Technology

Age: 48

$6.6B

Marian Ilitch / #254

United States / Food & Beverage

Age: 85

$10

B

$15

B

$8

B

$7

B

8

12

7

6

5

9

6

4

2

6

3

5

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

Wu is chairman and largest shareholder of Longfor Properties, a Chinese developer of commercial and residential property. The Beijing-based company operates in more than 35 cities under brands including Paradise Walk, Starry Street and Moco. It reported revenue of 54.8 billion yuan ($8.3 billion) in 2016.

Wu is co-founder of AAC Technologies Holdings, a mobile phone component maker with revenue of 15.5 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) in 2016. The Shenzhen-

based company builds miniaturized speakers and receivers for clients including Apple and Samsung. Wu co-founded the publicly traded business with her husband Pan Zhengmin in 1993.

Ilitch owns Little Caesars, the third-largest pizza chain in the U.S. The Detroit-based company had more than 3,600 outlets and retail sales of $3.9 billion in 2016. Her husband and co-founder, Michael, died in February 2017. The Ilitch family also controls Detroit’s Motor City Casino, Tigers and Red Wings sports teams, and Olympia Entertainment.

China’s richest woman is chairman of Lens Technology, a publicly traded consumer electronics supplier. The Liuyang, China-based business makes glass covers for cellphones, computers and cameras, and reported revenue of 15.1 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) in 2016. Apple and Samsung are among its biggest customers.

$6.0B

Pollyanna Chu / #295

Hong Kong / Finance

Age: 59

$4.5B

Judy Love / #444

United States / Retail

Age: unknown

$4.5B

Judy Faulkner / #451

United States / Technology

Age: 74

$5

B

$6

B

$10

B

5

6

4

4

2

3

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

1/3/17

3/6/18

Love is the co-founder of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, a U.S. fuel and consumer products business. The Oklahoma City-based company is closely held and owns a diversified chain of convenience stores, gas stations and logistics operations with more than 430 locations in 41 states. The company had revenue of $16 billion in 2016.

Faulkner is founder and chief executive officer of Epic Systems, a closely held supplier of health record software to hospitals. The Verona, Wisconsin-based company’s clients include the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. It provides records for about 190 million patients and had revenue of $2.5 billion in 2016.

Chu is the co-founder and largest shareholder of Kingston Financial Group, a diversified asset management and entertainment business. The Hong Kong-based company had revenue of HK$2.9 billion ($371 million) in the year ended March 31, 2017. Kingston provides financing services and operates hotels and casinos in Macau.

To even get a crack at mega-wealth, women entrepreneurs need to navigate an oftentimes hostile startup culture, as detailed in Emily Chang’s “Brotopia: Breaking up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley.” And they need investors. While women hold a quarter of computing jobs, they receive just 2 percent of venture capital funding, Chang writes in her book.

Women entrepreneurs across all industries are less likely to be approved for business loans than men. Women also tend to have less risk appetite, said Mara Harvey, a managing director at UBS Wealth Management who created a program to help improve communication with female clients. “Women tend to perceive and value wealth as a source of security, not opportunity,” she said. Over time, risk aversion has “massive consequences.”

And then there’s unconscious bias, subtle societal messages that can reinforce stereotypes around wealth creation. In Asia, home to four of the seven richest self-made women, females are commonly in charge of household finances. In the U.S.,“there’s a notion that it’s unladylike to be focused on achieving wealth,” said wealth psychologist Kathleen Burns Kingsbury. “We are quick to villainize women who are profit-motivated.”

Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index, World Bank

Note: All data are as of market close March 6, 2018

Assistance from Jack Witzig

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