March 04 ,2014 | by Hari Srinivasan

Women Rise Up Forbes Billionaires List

Women Rise Up

In a record-breaking year for women in the world of business, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg is just one of them to make her debut on the Forbes Billionaires List…


Sheryl Sandberg may not have spent her career writing computer code, but this year’s edition of the Forbes Billionaires List shows that she has every right to be called a giant in the technology world.

The Facebook chief operating officer is one of the newcomers to this year’s list, compiled by the magazine to rank the world’s wealthiest individuals, having amassed an impressive fortune of $1.05 billion (£630 million) over the course of her career both in the technology sector and elsewhere.

Much of the rise comes from a gigantic rise in Facebook’s share prices in the 12 months to February. Forbes says Ms Sandberg can call upon as many as 12 million shares in the social media giant, which has seen its valuation shoot up by 130 per cent over that period.

But given that she also sits on the board at Walt Disney Co. and served as an executive at Google before jumping ship to Facebook, it’s easy to see how Ms Sandberg has made a name for herself and become one of the list’s self-made female billionaires.


It’s been a great year for women, according to the Forbes list – 172 female billionaires made the list out of 1,645. That may be surprisingly low, but it marks the best performance for women in the 28 years Forbes has been collecting data. Of the 268 wealthy individuals who entered the list this year, a total of 42 were women: still low, but also a record.

Self-made women account for less than two per cent of the world’s billionaires, but numbers are on the rise. It may come as no surprise that Oprah Winfrey is still on the list after launching her OWN television network last year.

Bet365 Founder Denise Coates (pic: BBC)


But women are making their way up the ranks from a wide range of backgrounds – Denise Coates, joint chief executive, majority shareholder and founder of online gambling firm Bet365, is one of the newcomers.


Ms Sandberg also doubles the number of women on the list who made their fortunes thanks to technology firms. Hewlett-Packard chief executive Meg Whitman is also on the list and reputed to be worth around $2 billion. Most of her wealth comes from shares in eBay, where she was chief executive for a decade.

There’s still plenty of work to be done, but this year’s list indicates that women really are ascending the ranks in the business world. It seems there will be plenty more good news to come.

Hari Srinivasan

Hari is the LSBF Blog's News Editor. He manages the editorial content on the blog and writes about current affairs, SME, entrepreneurship, energy, education and emerging market news.

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