A record 172 women earned places on Forbes’ 2014 billionaires list, establishing women as a growing force throughout the highest ranks of global wealth and power.
The expanded crop of female billionaires marks a 25% increase since 2013, and a remarkable 60% increase since 2012. The list includes both previous listees and newcomers, such as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Folorunsho Alakija, Nigeria’s first female billionaire. Twelve women on the list became billionaires by starting their own businesses, including Spanx founder Sara Blakely and fashion designer Tory Burch.
The list signifies a slow but steady rise for women as they establish a presence in prestigious groups historically defined by male majorities. Only 51 women made the 2004 list, up just one from 2003’s list.