Forbes Brazil Shows How Different Its Billionaires List Would Look If Top Earners Were Women

Ever heard of Marcia Zuckerberg?

Headshot of Angela Natividad

How much does equal pay matter, anyway?

A lot, when you’re making (often less than) 80 cents on the dollar—never mind pay that plateaus faster, coupled with a longer life expectancy than men.

To put this point in harsh relief, Forbes Brazil’s latest work, “Equal Pay Billionaires,” imagines the female versions of notable business personalities … then shows how far they’d fall in the list if they’d been women.

The first contender in the campaign, created by Ogilvy Brazil, is Billie Gates. Our man Bill ranks No. 1 on Forbes’ infamous list of billionaires. As a woman, though? Billie’s value drops 21 percent, flinging her into the No. 4 spot—just above Mark Zuckerberg.

Speaking of Mark, he’s Forbes’ No. 5 man, touting a fortune of $56 billion. As Marcia Zuckerberg, an American woman, she, too, would see a 21 percent pay dock. That would reduce her fortune to a mere $44 billion, plummeting to No. 11 on the list.

Last comes Carla Slim, a female representation of Mexico’s Carlos Slim. At No. 6 on the list, Slim’s packing $54.5 billion—but Carla’s ovarian pay drop reduces it by 17 percent, bringing her worth down to $45 billion—just a billion more than Marcia.

The fun in this campaign comes from being able to gaze at weird Photoshopped versions of powerful men who can burn a trail through their money and still die with more than most of us will make this year. Even if their woman versions drop a few notches in the list of billionaires, they’re still on the list, which doesn’t exactly make this a relatable exercise.

It’s facetious to even begin the comparison here. But it’s fun food for thought, if only because it highlights how dramatically one disparity can alter your fortunes.

Because we all know that women aren’t dealing with just that one, right? What’s more interesting is where real women start appearing in Forbes’ actual billionaires list—with Liliane Bettencourt of L’Oréal, whose fortune of $39.5 billion ranks at No. 14.

She’s the richest woman in history, but that fortune gets a big inheritance boost, as does the woman who follows her—Alice Walton, No. 17, whose $33.8 billion fortune comes from Walmart, founded by her dad. Behind her is Jacqueline Mars (of the candy), No. 26, then Maria Franca Fissolo at No. 29. She owns Ferrero SpA, the makers of Nutella. It was founded by her husband.

In fact, it’s scary how far down the list you have to go before finding a woman whose opening paragraph in Wikipedia doesn’t include “heiress” or “widow”—a “self-made” person we can perhaps reasonably compare to the dudes who “bootstrapped” their way up from fabled garages.

We finally found her, though: Zhou Qunfei, the Chinese founder of Lens Technology, and the youngest of three kids from a poor family. She ranks at No. 186 in the billionaires list. Her fortune? A mere $7.4 billion.

There’s something worth a picture.

Client: Forbes Brazil
Agency: Ogilvy Brazil
Campaign: Equal Pay Billionaires
Title: Billie Gates / Carla Slim / Marcia Zuckerberg
CEO Ogilvy Brazil: Fernando Musa
CCO: Claudio Lima
ECD: Felix Del Valle
Creative Director: Eduardo Doss
Art Director: João Alexandre
Copywriter: Guilherme Moreira / Phylippe Moura / Marcos Botelho
Account: Juliana Fernandes
Executive/Client: Antonio Camarotti
Media: Renata Valio / Betânia Aragão
Artbuyer: Francini Santiago
Production house: Notan

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.