Female entrepreneurialism is on the rise. According to a new ranking from Forbes, the combined net worth of the country’s top 60 self-made women has increased 15% over last year, totaling an impressive $71B. And the minimum threshold to even make it onto the list increased to $320M. With so much money at stake, we created a new visualization highlighting the names and faces of the most successful businesswomen in the country.
We made our visualization using data from Forbes documenting the net worth and industries from which self-made women amassed their fortunes as of 2018. Forbes arrived at these figures by analyzing the value of publicly held stock as of June 22, 2018 as well as conservative estimates of the value for privately held companies compared to similar public ones. Forbes also defined anybody who built their own fortune (as opposed to inheriting it) to be “self-made,” eliminating women who are second-generation business owners. We used the value of their fortunes to create a color-coded bubble chart, letting you easily see which women have the largest net worths and how many fall into which wealth brackets.
Here are the ten richest self-made women according to Forbes, together with their net worth and the primary industry in which they made their money.
1. Diane Hendricks: $4.9B (Roofing)
2. Marian Ilitch: $4.3B (Little Caesars)
3. Judy Faulkner: $3.5B (Healthcare IT)
4. Meg Whitman: $3.3B (eBay)
5. Johnelle Hunt: $3.2B (Trucking)
6. Oprah Winfrey: $3.1B (TV shows)
7. Judy Love: $3.0B (Retail & gas stations)
8. Doris Fisher: $2.8B (Gap)
9. Elaine Wynn: $2.6B (Casinos, hotels)
10. Lynda Resnick: $2.4B (Agriculture)
Our visualization highlights a number of women that we’re betting most readers don’t know yet. There is, of course, Oprah, with her fortune of $3.1B and rumors of an increasingly unlikely presidential run. Meg Whitman is also very well known given her success at eBay, tumultuous tenure at Hewlett-Packard, and subsequent campaigns for governor in California. But we’re betting that in general, most people would be hard pressed to identify anyone else pictured in the bubbles in our visualization. Marian Ilitch is the mastermind behind Little Caesars, and Judy Faulkner heads up a company with healthcare software in most of the nation’s best hospitals. Every person on the list is tremendously successful in their own right. Self-made women just aren’t as well known as self-made men, but given their billions of wealth, they obviously have a lot to teach us about success.
Another interesting takeaway from our visual is the inequality it displays even among this elite group. Only two women exceed $4B, and only five are between $3-4B. The average fortune size is $1.18B, which sounds like a lot of money until you remember Mark Zuckerberg lost almost $17B in a single day this summer. He certainly still has billions and billions left over. In fact, 36 out of the 60 women represented here have amassed personal fortunes valued at less than $1B. The implication of these numbers is that there just aren’t very many self-made women in the business world.
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