Walmart heiress Alice Walton has topped the list of female billionaires with a net worth of $29.8 billion.
Her sister-in-law, Christy Walton, is taking third place.
Alice Walton, 62, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, managed to topple Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart off the top spot thanks to Walmart stock trading at a 12 year high.
Christy Walton, 57, who inherited her husband John’s stake in Walmart after he died in a plane crash in 2005, has a worth valued at $28.2 billion, according to the Wealth X list.
In 2007 the Walmart family’s worth was the same amount as the bottom 30% of Americans, according to economist Sylvia Allegretto from the University of California-Berkeley.
When she was about ten years old Alice Walton invested in her first piece of art and this interest led to her spearheading the Walton Family Foundation’s involvement in developing Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Alice Walton has spent over $300 million building an American art museum in Arkansas with the facilities alone costing more than $100 million. She was briefly married when she was in her twenties.
Champing at Alice Walton’s heels is Gina Reinhart, who is valued at $29.1 billion.
Gina Reinhart, 58, is the daughter of late iron-ore mining magnate Lang Hangcock, who is credited with discovering giant deposits of iron ore in the 1950s that now make up Australia’s largest export base.
Due to commodity prices and successful projects Gina Rinehart’s wealth has grown by an unprecedented $18 billion this year alone.
Gina Reinhart, a widow dubbed “The Iron Lady”, is in the middle of a financial feud with three of her four children over a $18 billion family trust.
Earlier this year an Australian High Court rejected Gina Reinhart’s bid to suppress details of the legal battle.
The fourth richest woman in the world is French L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, who has an estimated wealth of at least $24 billion.
Liliane Bettencourt, 89, is the only child of Eugene Schueller, who founded the cosmetics company and died in 1957.
Swedish born Birgit Rausing takes the fifth spot with a net worth of at least $13.8 billion from her shares in packaging giant, Tetra Laval, which was founded by her father-in-law.
Birgit Rausing, 88, is widowed and lives in Switzerland.