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Power shifting back to UHNW women

Many of the world’s most powerful women are ultra-high net worth individuals, with new figures suggesting that wealth is playing a bigger role in defining a person’s influence.

Many of the world’s most powerful women are ultra-high net worth individuals, with new figures suggesting that wealth is playing a bigger role in defining a person’s influence.

Wealth intelligence and prospecting firm Wealth-X examined the finances of the women who made this year’s Forbes’s World's Most Powerful Women List and found that there has been a noticeable increase in the wealth of the women included.

The combined fortunes of UHNW women on Forbes’s list increased to $53.8 billion (€39.49 billion) in 2011 from $20.5 billion last year, Wealth-X estimates show.

This was partly influenced by the addition of heiress and art patron Alice Walton, who has family business Walmart – the retailer founded by her father Sam - to thank for her fortune of $20 billion.

Three-quarters of the women on the list were worth at least $30 million, the company said.

“It's evident that the story here shows that as once before, money is power,'' said Mykolas Rambus, chief executive of Wealth-X, in a statement.

"It’s clear that power has shifted back to those with the most means. The ultra affluent have the capacity to do more, whether in terms of growing their business, exerting political beliefs or even championing social causes.''

German chancellor Angela Merkel was named the most powerful women by Forbes, followed by Hillary Clinton.

Gina Rinehart, the mining tycoon behind family business Hancock Prospecting, and Chan Laiwa, who chairs Wah International Group, one of Beijing's largest commercial property developer, also featured on the list. 

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