The wealthiest women aren’t so rich after all. As oxymoronic as that statement may sound, the combined wealth of the only three self-made women billionaires in India forms just 14 per cent of the total wealth of Gautam Adani, the richest self-made billionaire man.

The ‘Richest Self-Made Women in the World 2023’ report released earlier this year by M3M Hurun notes that there are 109 self-made women billionaires worldwide. Just three of them are from India — Biocon’s founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Nykaa’s founder Falguni Nayar and Zoho’s co-founder Radha Vembu — in that order. As of May 12, 2023, they own assets worth $2.3 billion, $2.2 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively, according to Forbes’ ‘Real Time Billionaires’. At the time of the release of the report, Vembu owned a wealth of $4 billion, Nayar had $3.1 billion and Shaw’s assets were worth $2.4 billion.

Falguni Nayar, MD and CEO of Nykaa

Falguni Nayar, MD and CEO of Nykaa | Photo Credit: PUNIT PARANJPE

The list also noted that in the year to March 2023, Nayar lost 59 per cent of her wealth, mostly owing to the fall in the share prices of Nykaa. According to Hurun’s 2021 list, Nayar was the 10th richest self-made woman billionaire in the world, with a wealth of $7.6 billion. However, she holds the 24th position according to the 2023 list. Shaw also had a 37 per cent loss in her wealth. This, too, could be due to the fall in Biocon’s share prices.

The gender quotient

Of all the billionaires in India, 57 per cent are self-made. Additionally, the 2023 M3M Hurun Global Rich List suggests that to the three self-made billionaires in India, the corresponding number of Indian men could be 103.

Radha Vembu

Radha Vembu | Photo Credit: RAMESH SHARMA

The richest self-made billionaire men in India are Gautam Adani, Shiv Nadar and Cyrus Poonawalla. Adani clung to the position despite a massive fall in the share prices of Adani group’s companies. The latest figures from Forbes show that Adani, Nadar and Poonawalla together hold wealth worth $96.5 billion. That is 14 times the wealth of Shaw, Nayar and Vembu combined.

Worldwide, the richest self-made woman billionaire is Diane Hendricks. She is an American businesswoman and film producer, with a wealth of $13.4 billion. She is followed by Chinese billionaire Wu Yajun, the co-founder, chairwoman and former CEO of Longfor Properties. She has a wealth of $9.5 billion. She is followed by Chinese pharmaceutical executive Zhong Huijuan.