6 Women On Forbes' 2015 Billionaires List Who Made History (Here's Hoping 2016 Brings More)

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: Founder of Spanx Sara Blakely speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit on October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for FORTUNE)
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In case you've been under the impression that women are making big economic gains and working toward complete wage equality, here's some evidence to the contrary you might want to consider. On Monday, Forbes released their 2015 list of billionaires, and the proportion of women to men isn't nearly fair. Of a total 1,826 RSVPs to the exclusive 10-digit net worth party, only 197 of the world's billionaires are women. That's actually an increase from 2014, when there were 172 females on the list, but women remain such a small minority they are basically outliers. Now we have a new fact that flies in the face of supposed gender equality: Women make up only 11 percent of all the richest people in the world.

This may seem irrelevant to your life — when am I going to have to worry about having a billion dollars? — but it matters more than you think. It's true that there are greater problems on a bigger scale with wage inequality and economic disadvantages for the vast majority of women around the world, almost 100 percent of whom are not billionaires. But this information is still valuable. These data tell us that even at the highest tiers of the wealth pyramid, women still can't win — the gender pay gap affects you no matter how rich you are. So, if you don't understand why you aren't the world's newest rich and famous tech ingenue, your gender might actually be working against you more thank you think.

So how did these women manage to come by this amount of money? An even more shocking statistic: According to Forbes, only 29 of the 197 women on the list are self-made billionaires. That's only 14.7 percent. The majority of female billionaires inherited their wealth from men — husbands, fathers, etc. But some did make their own way to the top. Here are the six most inspiring women from the Forbes 2015 billionaire list.

Elizabeth Holmes

2015 is her first year on the billionaire list, and Holmes, 31, is the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. She dropped out of Stanford in 2013 during her sophomore year to follow her enterprising spirit: Holmes came up with an idea for a better blood testing company, Theranos, that uses only a drop of blood. She's raised $400 million from venture capitalists, and her company is worth $9 billion. Holmes is one of America's 67 female billionaires and holds half of Theranos, making her worth $4.5 billion.

Sara Blakely


You know Blakely better than you think you do — the 44-year-old is the inventor of Spanx. She invested all $5,000 of her life savings in the company when she started it, and today she's worth $1.1 billion. And she's keeping all of it — Blakely owns 100 percent of her company.

Oprah Winfrey

Winfrey, 61, is the only African-American on the entire billionaires list. Just let that sink in for a minute, and then consider the fact that she built her own media company, Harpo, Inc. She's worth $2.8 billion, and her impact on the American media is too vast to quantify.

Pollyanna Chu

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Chu, 57, is the CEO of Hong Kong's Kingston Securities. She co-founded the company with her husband. As the 39th richest person in Hong Kong and number 1226 on the billionaire list, Chu is worth $1.6 billion.

Doris Fisher

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Fisher, 83, co-founded The Gap with her husband in 1969. She has a net worth of $3.2 billion, and she keeps an extensive art collection. Since she's so classy, her favorites include Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. And perhaps best of all, her company pays men and women equal wages.

Elena Baturina

At age 51, Baturina is Russia's wealthiest woman — though she's still 84 spots below Russia's wealthiest man. Baturina, who currently lives in London, started out as a factory worker. She worked her way up, studying at the Moscow Institute of Management, and now owns hotels and real estate across Europe and the U.S.

So, yes, it's true that women remain an outrageously small minority of the world's richest people. But as you can see, what they lack in quantity, the women at the top make up for in quality.

Images: Giphy (3); Getty Images (4)

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