Millions matter not in a world where the wealthiest are measured in many billions.
In its inaugural ranking of the world’s richest people 20 years ago, US-based Forbes magazine uncovered some 140 billionaires. Just three years ago it found 476. This year the list stretches to a record 793. Their average net worth is $3.3 billion (£1.7 billion) and 78 of them are women - 10 more than in 2005, though only six are self-made.
Oprah Winfrey, Athina Onassis, the Queen and JK Rowling do not make the girls' top 10. Here's who does...
10. Cristina Green
Mrs Green may derive some of her wealth from husband Philip's retail empire, Arcadia, but I bet she's earned it. And as the only Brit in the top 10 richest women and the only one with self-made cash, she deserves our applause. Their $7 billion (£3.7 billion) fortune makes the Greens the 74 richest people in the world and they like to protect their cash from the taxman by living in Monaco. Arcadia Group is Britain's third-largest clothing retail group and includes high street favourites Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge. Green also owns 94% of BHS, the country's 10th-largest clothing retail chain. Together, the companies have sales of $4.7 billion (£2.5 billion).
9. Susanne Klatten
More inherited money in ninth place as Ms Klatten, 43, scooped up $8.1 billion (£4.3 billion) via a 12.5% stake in BMW cars and a 50% stake in pharmaceutical manufacturer Altana from her late father, Herbert Quandt. A trained economist with an MBA, Klatten is credited with helping transform Altana into a world-class pharmaceutical/chemical corporation with $3.6 billion (£1.9 billion) in sales and almost 11,000 employees.
8. Jacqueline Mars
Jacqueline Badger Mars is the daughter of Forrest Edward Mars, Sr., and granddaughter of Frank C. Mars, founders of the giant American candy company Mars, Incorporated. With her share of the company, she is worth US$14.0 billion as of September 2007 she is the 58th richest person in the world, and the 19th richest person in the United States according to Forbes, she's also the fourth richest American woman. She is divorced.
7.Barbara Cox Anthony
Barbara Cox Anthony (1922 – May 28, 2007) was the youngest daughter of James M. Cox, a Democratic governor of Ohio, newspaper publisher and broadcaster. With her sister Anne Cox Chambers and brother James M. Cox, Jr., she inherited, via a trust, ownership and control of her father’s company, now called Cox Enterprises. Upon her brother's death in 1974, the sisters received his share of the company equally.
Her net worth was estimated at $12 billion, based principally on her equity interest in Cox Enterprises which made her one of the richest women in the United States and the richest resident of Hawaii
6. Anne Cox Chambers
Anne Cox Chambers (born December 1, 1919) is a billionaire media proprietor. She is the daughter of James M. Cox, a newspaper publisher and 1920 Democratic Presidential nominee, and his second wife, Margaretta Parler Blair. She owns and controls her father's business interests, through Cox Enterprises. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Her sister, Barbara Cox Anthony, died on May 28, 2007.
An alumna of Finch College and a generous financial supporter of the Democratic Party, she was President Jimmy Carter's pick as United States Ambassador to Belgium from 1977 to 1981.
Her net worth has been estimated at $13 billion, based principally on her equity interest in Cox Enterprises, which makes her the fourth richest woman in the United States.
5. Abigail Johnson
Abigail Pierrepont Johnson (born December 19, 1961) is an American businesswoman. Johnson is President of Fidelity Investments Personal and Workplace Investing. Fidelity is led by her father, Edward Johnson.
In September 2008, her net worth was estimated at US$15 billion, tying her for 15th place in Forbes List of the 400 Richest Americans. (Her father, with $11 billion, is tied for 28th place.)
She is the 35th richest person in the world, though her current net worth has decreased to US$10 billion. Her father is tied for 62nd place with US$7 billion.
4. Helen Walton
Helen Robson Kemper Walton (December 3, 1919 – April 19, 2007) was the wife of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. She was the eleventh richest American and at one point the richest woman in the world. Helen died with an estimated net worth of $16.4 billion that will pass to charity over the next few years.
Helen was the valedictorian of her high school class in Claremore, Oklahoma and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma at Norman with a degree in business. She was the daughter of L.S. Robson, a prosperous banker and rancher. She and Sam were married February 14, 1943.
Sam Walton (d. 1992) left his ownership in Wal-Mart to his wife and their four children, S. Robson Walton (Rob), John T. Walton (d. 2005), Jim Walton, and Alice Walton. Rob Walton chairs the board of directors of Wal-Mart, on which John served until his death. The others are not directly involved in the company except through their voting power as shareholders.
3. Alice Walton
Alice Louise Walton (born October 7, 1949 in Newport, Arkansas) is an American heiress to the Wal-mart fortune. She is the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and Helen Walton, and sister of S. Robson Walton, and Jim Walton. Another brother, John Walton died in a 2005 plane crash. In 2009, her estimated net worth was US$18 billion, making her the richest woman in the world along with her sister-in-law Christy Walton.
Christy Ruth Walton is the wife of late John T. Walton. After his death in June 2005, she inherited his fortune of $15.7 billion . As of March 2009, she is the 12th richest person in the Forbes World's Billionaires , with an estimated net worth of US$17.6 billion.
She currently resides in Jackson, Wyoming. She has one son, Lukas.
1. Liliane Bettencourt
Liliane Bettencourt (born 21 October 1922(1922-10-21) in Paris, France) is a French heiress, socialite, and businesswoman. She is the principal shareholder of L'Oréal and the wealthiest woman in Europe. She is the second richest person in France, behind Bernard Arnault whose wealth is estimated at US$16.5 billion, and she ranks 21st in wealthiest people in the world. Forbes magazine estimated her wealth in 2009 at US$13.4 billion.
Bettencourt was the only child of Eugène Schueller, the founder of L'Oréal, one of the world's leading cosmetics and beauty companies. In 1927, her mother died when Liliane was 5 years old.
In 1950, she married French politician André Bettencourt and lived in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France together until Andre's death in November 2007. They had one daughter, Françoise, who married Jean-Pierre Meyers, the grandson of a rabbi who died in an Auschwitz concentration camp. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers is a member of L'Oréal's board of directors.
In 1957, Bettencourt inherited the L'Oréal fortune from her father. She is the principal shareholder of L'Oréal. The company ownership breakdown: 27.5% by Liliane Bettencourt, 26.4% by Nestlé, the remaining 46.1% are publicly traded.
She created the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, which awards the "Liliane Bettencourt Prize for Life Sciences" to a European researcher under the age of forty-five.
Bettencourt claims to have lost money in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. She is known to have invested a part of her fortune with Madoff through hedge fund adviser and investor René-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet.