The top tier of wealth in the world is a veritable boys’ club, with only four women breaking the top 50. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of women who have earned huge fortunes for themselves as well.
With data from Wealth-X, a company that conducts research on the super wealthy, Business Insider has taken a look at the richest self-made women in the world. These women have built companies, pioneered new technologies, and made huge advances in their respective fields. They’re worth a combined $53.1 billion — larger than the combined gross domestic product of Honduras, Iceland, and Cambodia.
The list includes household names like media mogul Oprah Winfrey as well as influential but lesser-known personalities such as Gap founder Doris Fisher.
Keep reading to see how these 15 women made their fortunes.
SEE ALSO: The 25 richest self-made billionaires
14. TIE: Lynda Resnick
Net worth: $2.4 billion
Source of wealth: The Wonderful Company
At 19, Resnick, a former child actress and daughter of a Hollywood movie producer, dropped out of college to found an advertising company called Lynda Limited. In 1973, Resnick married her second husband, Stewart Resnick, who was managing a private security business, and the two combined their assets.
The Resnicks made a succession of company acquisitions and sales throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Their first forays into agriculture included the purchase of a 12,000-acre pistachio and almond farm in California for $30 million.
The company today generates $4 billion in sales from best-selling brands like Wonderful pistachios, Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice, Wonderful Halos (formerly Cuties California clementines), Fiji Water, Justin Vineyards, and the Teleflora flower-delivery service. Last summer, Roll Global was renamed The Wonderful Company, where Resnick serves as vice chairman.
The Resnicks are no strangers to controversy. The Federal Trade Commission successfully sued them for deceptively marketing and inflating the health benefits of their pomegranate juice (the Resnicks are appealing to the Supreme Court). They have also taken heat for their access to and use of water during California’s drought.
14. TIE: Marian Ilitch
Net worth: $2.4 billion
Source of wealth: Little Caesars
Ilitch has been in the food industry since she was a little girl. Starting at age 10, she worked at her father’s restaurant in Dearborn, Michigan, where she filled the salt and pepper shakers. In 1959, Ilitch and her husband, Mike, opened the first Little Caesars pizza store, the moniker stemming from Marian’s nickname for Mike. In 1962, the couple sold their first franchise for $5,000. Today Little Caesars has more than 4,000 fast-serve pizza restaurants.
Though the Ilitches command one of the largest takeout pizza chains in the US, their overall empire is even larger. Ilitch Holdings consists of 10 companies that specialize in food, sports, and entertainment, including the MLB’s Detroit Tigers, the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, and the MotorCity Casino in Detroit. They bought the Red Wings for $8 million in 1982; the franchise is worth $600 million today.
The Ilitches will both be inducted into the International Franchise Association’s Hall of Fame this year.
11. TIE: Johnelle Hunt
Net worth: $2.5 billion
Source of wealth: J.B. Hunt Transport Services
When the J.B. Hunt Company opened in 1962, founded by Hunt‘s husband, Johnnie, who died in 2006, she started out as a part-time employee, helping get the business off the ground. Hunt quickly became an integral part of the company, moving up to full-time employee and then cofounding the logistics company J.B. Hunt Transport alongside her husband in 1969 with only five tractors and seven trailers.
Thanks to Hunt’s entrepreneurial vision, the transportation company grew, eventually integrating J.B. Hunt proper into it. The company went public in 1983, and by 2004 it commanded more than 11,000 trucks and more than 16,000 employees. Today the company is worth $9.5 billion.
In 2001, Hunt cofounded Hunt Ventures, an office and retail development company, where she still serves as chairman. The company tackles large-scale real-estate projects, such as Pinnacle Hills, a 700-acre development that will feature more than 2.5 million square feet of restaurants, retail space, and offices.