The Richest Woman in the World: How Gina Rinehart Earns her Billions

The most dizzyingly rich women in the world have something in common: It's almost always their husbands or fathers who actually earned the dizzying riches. But while Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart inherited $75 million when her father died in 1992, she has spent the last two decades multiplying that sum -- 386 times. She's now worth $29 billion, according to BRW magazine's latest rich list, which makes her the wealthiest woman in the world.

Of the humans roaming this planet with at least $1 billion in their bank accounts, just 8.5% are female, according to Forbes.

There's Christy Walton, the Walmart heiress; Jacqueline Mars, the candy empire heiress; Anne Cox Chambers, the Cox media empire heiress; Dorothea Steinbruch, the Brazilian steel heiress; Liliane Bettencourt, the L'Oreal heiress; Iris Fontbona, the widow of a mining magnate, Birgit Rausing, the widow of a packaging magnate; and Rosalia Mera, the ex-wife of the founder of clothing chain Zara.

Gina Rinehart Rinehart may have inherited some handsome seed money, but she now earns her own $75 million every day and a half. And she's done it by riding the soaring demand for Australia's resources, reports ABC News.

"If the demand for natural resources remains strong, additional multi-billion mines are almost inevitable," writes BRW. "There is a real possibility that Rinehart will become not just the richest woman in the world, but the richest person in the world."

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The Richest Woman in the World: How Gina Rinehart Earns her Billions

The nation's wealthiest are worth a combined $1.53 trillion. Here are the top 10 Americans raking in the dough.

Rank: 10
Net Worth: $20.9B
Age: 61
Source: Walmart
Residence: Millsap, TX

Rank: 9
Net Worth: $21.1B
Age: 63
Source: Walmart
Residence: Bentonville, AR

Rank: 8
Net Worth: $21.5B
Age: 78
Source: Casinos
Residence: Las Vegas, NY

Rank: 7
Net Worth: $22B
Age: 81
Source: Hedge funds
Residence: Katonah, NY

Rank: 6
Net Worth: $24.5B
Age: 56
Source: Walmart
Residence: Jackson, WY

Rank: 5
Net Worth: $25B
Age: 71
Source: Manufacturing
Residence: New York, NY

Rank: 4
Net Worth: $25B
Age: 75
Source: Manufacturing
Residence: Wichita, KS

Rank: 3
Net Worth: $33B
Age: 67
Source: Oracle
Residence: Redwood City, CA

Rank: 2
Net Worth: $39B
Source: Berkshire Hathaway
Residence: Omaha, NE

Rank: 1
Net Worth: $59B
Age: 55
Source: Microsoft
Residence: Medina, WA

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To do that, Rinehart would have to more than double her fortune. Mexican telecommunications giant Carlos Slim Helu now holds the top spot, with $69 billion.

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Over the last decade, more women have been busting through the billionaire glass ceiling at a fair rate. In that period, the number of female billionaires has ballooned from 32 to 104, reports Forbes.

Of course it's hard to make millions every day and still be the perfect mom. Three of Rinehart's four children are currently suing her in order to knock her off her late father's multibillion-dollar family trust. Rinehart's own bitter legal fight with her stepmother, over the circumstances of her father's death, lasted 14 years. But she seems to have ended on good terms with her dad. In 1999, she managed to get a mountain range named after him.
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