More women than ever before have joined the ranks of the superrich, according to Forbes’ 28th annual billionaires list. Forty-two women made the list for the very first time, up 25 percent since 2013. They remain a small minority among the world’s wealthiest, however, making up only 172 of the 1,645 billionaires. Among the newcomers is Sheryl Sandberg, the famed Facebook COO, who is encouraging women to take positions of leadership through her Lean In movement. Another remarkable new name is self-made business tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, who made her fortune in the oil industry and is now Nigeria’s first female billionaire. Wal-Mart heiress Christy Walton—worth $36.7 billion—took back her title as richest woman in the world from L’Oreal’s Liliane Bettencourt. Also notable: 32 of the world’s richest women made their own fortunes, rather than inheriting it from their husbands or parents.
Forbes says about 10 percent of the world’s superrich are women.