or the first time ever, the richest one per cent of people in the world own as much as the entire rest of the world combined.
According to analysis published by Oxfam, just 62 people have thecombined wealth of half the global population, meaning the worlds riches lie in the hands of a small number of uber-billionaires.
The net worth of these incredibly affluent few – a list which features inevitable appearances from Bill Gates, the Koch brothers and Warren Buffett – was $1.7 trillion (1.19 trillion) last year, equal to the combined wealth of the 3.5 billion poorest people in the world.
Of these 62, only nine are women. Though two of them – Christy Walton and Liliane Bettencourt – feature in the top ten on theForbes Rich List, they are nevertheless among a relatively small number of women who make upthe one per cent.
So who are they, and how have they made their billions?
Coming in at number eight with a net worth of $41.7 billion (29.2 billion) , Christy Walton is part of the Walton family, who founded American supermarket chain – and the worlds largest retailer – Wal-Mart.
Walton married into what became the richest family in the world and inherited her fortune when her husband John Walton died in an airplane crash in 2005.
She owns a stake in solar panel maker First Solar that in September of last year was worth about $1.3 billion (0.9 billion. But the bulk of her holdings are in Wal-Mart, which was founded by her father-in-law Sam Walton and his brother James in 1962.
Three other members of the Walton family – Jim, Alice and S. Robson Walton – are all in the top 20 richest people in the world, but Christy pips then to the post with $1.1 billion (0.7 billion) more than her brother-in-law Jim.
Forbes has reported that she leads a private life in Jackson, Wyoming.
The LOreal heiress was the 10th richest person on the planet last year, with a net worth of $40.1 billion (28 billion).
The 93-year-old grand dame of the French cosmetics empire, which was founded by her father Eugene Schueller in 1907, reportedly grew even wealthier in 2014 after she purchased an additional eight per cent stake in the company from Nestle, raising her stock to 33 per cent.
Bettencourt, who suffers from dementia, was replaced on the companys board by her grandson Jean-Victor Meyers in 2012 and has not been involved in running the company for several years.
Acourt case in May 2015found eight people, including a former ally of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, guilty of exploiting Bettencourt for her millions.
Waltons riches stem from her stake in Wal-Mart. Alongside her two brothers and sister-in-law, the family own 51 per cent of the retailer, which has around 11,000 stores.
She was the 11th richest person in the world last year, with a fortune of $39.4 billion (27.5 billion).
The 66-year-old lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and has never taken an active role in the company, instead choosing to focus on collecting and curating art.
She opened the Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2011 and two years later purchased a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and had it moved to the museums campus.
Her personal art collection is said to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Jacqueline Mars and her two brothers, Forrest Jr. and John, own Mars – the largest manufacturer of confectionery in the world.
Their grandfather, Frank, started the business in 1911 from his kitchen in Tacoma, Washington.
Their father, Forrest Sr., joined Mars in 1929, around the time the company created the malt-flavoured nougat inside Milky Ways and Snickers bars.
The company also makes Uncle Bens rice and pet food brands Pedigree and Whiskas.
76-year-old Mars inherited the company along with her two brothers after their fathers death in 1999.
With a net worth of $26.6 billion (18.6 billion) each, the siblings were the joint 22nd richest people in the world last year.
Franca Fissolo is the worlds oldest billionaire. Shes the widow of Michele Ferrero, who built the Ferrero Group into one of the most iconic confectionery companies in the world.
The group now owns Nutella, Kinder and Tic-Tac and began in World War II, in Alba, northern Italy when Franca Fissolos father-in-law set up a lab to supply his wifes pastry shop.
He made the cocoa, which was rationed at the time, go further with ground hazelnuts, creating the spread which would eventually become Nutella.
His son Michele died on Valentines Day last year, leaving his $23.4 billion (16.4 billion) fortune to his 98-year-old wife.
Heister, along with her brother Karl Albrecht Jr. are the children of Karl Albrecht Sr., who built the Aldi supermarket chain.
After World War II, he and his brother Theo Albrecht took over their familys grocery store in Essen, Germany, and eventually built it into the international low-price retailer which can now be found all over the world.
Beate Heister has never worked for Aldi but sits, together with her husband Peter and her son Peter Max Heister, on its advisory board. Shes notoriously reclusive, so few photos of her are in the public domain.
Heister shares a net worth of $21.3 billion (14.9 billion) with her brother, making them the joint 37th richest people in the world.
As the widow of the late Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobss fortune comes from the brand he created, Apple, and a 7.7 per cent stake in Disney.
Worth $19.5 billion (13.6 billion), Powell Jobs uses part of her wealth for social causes, such as the Emerson Collective – an organisation that uses entrepreneurship to assist under-resourced students and advance social reform.
At the age of 52, she is 45th on the list of richest people in the world.
Cox Enterprises is owned by Anne Cox Chambers and her family.
The companys interests include communications (such as cable and broadband), the media (newspapers, TV, radio stations) and, more recently the automotive business (it owns , among others).
Chambers was once an ambassador to Belgium under President Jimmy Carter, and holds the French Legion dhonneur.
At 96, she has a net worth of $17 billion (11.9 billion) and is the surviving daughter of the companys founder, James M. Cox, who died in 1957.
Klatten ranks as Germanys richest woman, with a $16.8 billion (11.7 billion) fortune thanks primarily to the 12.6 per cent stake she inherited in car maker BMW from her late father, Herbert Quandt.
With her brother Stefan Quandt and her mother Johanna Quandt, she owns about 50 per cent of BMW.
Klatten, 53, also owns 100 per cent of a pharmaceutical corporation called Altana AG, which is based in the German town of Wesel and which she helped to build. The company is best known for its blockbuster ulcer drug Pantoprazol.
She lives with her husband Jan and three children in Bad Homburg vor der Hoehe.
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