More Women Join the Billionaire’s Club

Anna Williams
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sheryl sandbergThere are now more female billionaires than ever before.

In fact, the number of women with such distinction climbed 25% over the past year, according to Forbes‘ latest ranking of the world’s wealthiest.

Among its annual list of the individuals with the highest net worth, the magazine tallied a total of 172 female billionaires this year, with the majority of these women calling the United States home. Christy Walton, an heir to the Wal-Mart fortune, nabbed the spot for the world’s wealthiest woman—and the ninth spot overall—with a net worth of over $36 billion.

Joining Walton on the list was a group of 42 female fist-timers—like Facebook C.O.O. and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg, as well as makeup mogul Aerin Lauder.

In fact, it was a banner year for newcomers, both men and women; a record 268 on the list made it for the first time. That includes fashion designer Michael Kors and buzzy WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, who were launched onto the list with the help of their recent $19 billion Facebook deal. Still, the usual suspects held on to the top spots this year, with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett ranking first and fourth, respectively.

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Check out the full 2014 Forbes Billionaires List for more notable names, including Perenna Kei, a 24-year-old woman from Hong Kong who holds the title of the globe’s youngest billionaire—and is worth a cool $1.3 billion.

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