(THEGUARDIAN) — From Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to a British online gambling entrepreneur, a record number of women have entered the global club of billionaires.
A total of 172 women, up 25% on 2013, have made Forbes 28th annual billionaires’ list. Women now make up 10% of the global super-rich, thanks to a huge influx of female wealth, led by Sandberg. With a personal fortune worth more than $1bn (£599m), she became one of the highest-profile new entrants to the Forbes list, joining Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard as the only other female tech billionaire.
The self-made businesswoman Folorunsho Alakija, Nigeria’s first female billionaire, also made the Forbes list for the first time, as her oil investments netted her a $2.5bn fortune. One of the top UK entrants was Denise Coates, the British online gambling queen who, along with her brother, owns Bet365. Coates was at school when she started working as a cashier in her father’s betting shops and has now amassed $1.6bn in personal wealth.
According to Forbes, a record number of 42 women broke into the list for the first time, although only 32 female billionaires (1.9% of the total) built their own fortune, rather than inheriting it from a parent or husband.