Executive Education

Why So Few: 15 Highest-Paid Female Celebrities For 2016?

Taylor Swift

While the singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is the highest-paid entertainer in the world, she was the only female celebrity to feature in the top 5, according to Forbes’ annual list of the highest-paid celebrities for 2016. Interestingly, out of 100 highest-paid celebrities, there are only 15 female entertainers, and that’s down from 16 the year before.

The “White Horse” singer charts ahead of fellow stars like Adele, who is 9th on the list with $80.5 million, Madonna is at 12th with $76.5 million, Ellen DeGenere and Rihanna – at one place below with $75 million each. Megastar Beyoncé Knowles’s $54 million was only enough for the 34th place on the list.

“Perhaps I was naïve to think this would be the one Forbes list where women would outearn men or at least be up there in equal numbers. I thought that given our obsession with every aspect of the lives of female celebrities – from what they’re eating, to where they holiday, the size of their breasts and how they parent – that they’d at least be taking home more money at the end of the week for their efforts,” said Angela Priestley, Publisher and founding editor of Women’s Agenda.

Taken as a group, these 15 women pulled in $892.5 million pretax over the past 12 months. Here’s who those 15 women are, and how many millions they make.

RankNameEarningsOverall ranking
1Taylor Swift$170 million1
2Adele$80.5 million9
3Madonna$76.5 million12
4Ellen DeGeneres$75 million13
5Rihanna$75 million13
6Beyoncé Knowles$54 million34
7Kim Kardashian$51 million42
8Judy Sheindlin$47 million48
9Jennifer Lawrence$46 million49
10Sofía Vergara$43 million58
11Katy Perry $41 million63
12Jennifer Lopez$39.5 million68
13Melissa McCarthy$33 million86
14Gisele Bündchen$30.5 million99
15Britney Spears$30.5 million99

In spite of progress in the past decade, women still face tougher odds getting to — and staying in!

15 Highest-Paid Female Celebrities For 2016

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Prof. Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj
Prof. Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj is a media and technology executive, macro-economist, strategic thinker, chair, and chief executive officer of the CEOWORLD magazine, one of the world’s most influential and recognized global news publications. Under Dr. Amarendra's leadership, CEOWORLD magazine has become the world's most iconic news organization, whose rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of business leaders daily. Additionally, he serves as the chair and founding member of the CEOWORLD magazine’s Inclusion Advisory Board.

In his current role, he counsels and collaborates with c-suite executives of large multinational corporations, helping them drive change in their companies to improve their competitiveness. Dr. Amarendra has extensive experience in serving on numerous boards. He leads and supports a globally dispersed team of columnists, correspondents, editors, journalists, reporters, researchers, and industry analysts.

He received his Ph.D. in Finance and Banking from the European Global School, Paris, France. He also received his Doctoral Degree in Chartered Accountancy from the European International University Paris, France, and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Kyiv National University of Technologies and Design (KNUTD), Ukraine. He earned his Master of Business Administration degree in Finance and his master’s degree in Chartered Accountancy (CA) from European Global School Paris. Dr. Amarendra also holds a Master of Business Administration degree in International Relations and Affairs from the American University of Athens, Alabama, United States.

As CEO, he transformed the CEOWORLD magazine into a highly efficient, digital-first, profitable enterprise. Today, CEOWORLD magazine is a standard bearer for modern responsible journalism. Dr. Amarendra retains a strong desire to continuously improve his skills and abilities and believes that the first step to being a true leader is to inspire others to lead with you.


Prof. Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj is the CHAIR, CEO, AND EDITORIAL DIRECTOR of the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with him through LinkedIn.