Forbes’ annual ranking of billionaires came out today and I have to give a shout out to the amazing number of female leaders who made the list. Of the 268 newcomers to the 2014 list, 42 are women, making up 172 out of 1,645 billionaires on the list. (Side note: combined, the billionaires are worth an insane $6.4 trillion).
This is huge progress, but it’s worth noting only 32 of the 172 billionaire women were self-made, as opposed to inheriting from a father or husband. Granted, the more women the better on this list, but hopefully we can see even more self-made investors, entrepreneurs, and all around bosses to make the ranks.
Here are a few profiles to get you started on your daily dose of motivation:
- Sheryl Sandberg ($1.05B)
- Folorunsho Alakija ($2.5B)
Daughter of a wealthy man who had eight wives and 52 children (holy moly), Alakija is Nigeria’s first female billionaire, thanks to her own lucrative oil-producing asset, called Famfa Oil. Famfa Oil owned a 60% stake in the block until 2000, when then President Olusegun Obasanjo tried to take back as much as a 50% interest. So she was a badass, went to court to challenge the acquisition, and won.
- Sara Blakely ($1B)
Forget her positive impact on women, I could write Blakely a gushing thank you note for one of the world’s greatest gifts to women – Spanx. Thanks to her Spanx brand she’s the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. Blakely started out as a door-to-door fax machine salesperson and invested her last $5000 in creating flattering underwear. Six months Oprah christened it as one of her Favorite Things and the rest was history. She owns 100% of the company, which remains staunchly private despite persistent IPO rumors.