New Female Billionaires Now Outpacing Males

The number of extremely wealthy women has grown nearly sevenfold over the past two decades. Find out why.

Better Investing

The number of female billionaires has grown at a faster pace than that of male billionaires over the past 20 years, a new report shows.

From 1995 to 2014, the number of female billionaires increased almost sevenfold, by a factor of 6.6, while the number of their male counterparts increased by a factor of 5.2, according to the latest billionaire report from financial firms UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report, titled “The Changing Faces of Billionaires,” refers to the growing wealth and influence of female billionaires as “the Athena Factor,” named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, courage and inspiration:

Women are taking their place in the elite club of billionaires, both as entrepreneurs in their own right and as leaders of family dynasties. …

In the recent past, they’ve emerged not only as business pioneers but also as the drivers of families’ business and philanthropic legacies.

In the United States, 81 percent of female billionaires have mostly inherited their wealth and 19 percent are self-made.

Another key finding from the report is the fleeting nature of billionaire status:

Testifying to the transience of wealth, only 44 percent, or 126, of 1995’s class of 289 billionaires in our analysis of the 14 largest billionaire markets still qualify for this league of great wealth in 2014.

The three main reasons for this finding, according to the report, are:

  • Business failure, which the report refers to as “the greatest destroyer of wealth”
  • Death and taxes, specifically inheritance taxes on estates transferred to the next generation
  • Dilution of wealth as it is passed down from one generation and is divided up among members of the next generation

For more, check out “5 Ways to Join the Billionaires’ Club.”

What’s your take on the rate at which female entrepreneurs have grown in number? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Stacy Johnson

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