Who Are America’s Richest Women?

The annual Forbes 400 list of billionaires includes just 45 females

by Lesley Kennedy • MORE.com Reporter

Women are a small but mighty force on the 2012 Forbes 400 Richest Americans list. Among them: heiresses, CEOs, philanthropists and, yes, Oprah.

According to the magazine, just 45—or 11 percent—of the spots belong to women. Some notables:

  • Christy Walton, 57, $27.9 billion. The richest woman (and the sixth-richest American overall) is the daughter-in-law of Walmart founder Sam Walton.
  • Alice Walton, 63, $23.6 billion. Walton’s daughter ranks eighth overall. Other Walton relatives on the list include number 79, Ann Walton Kroenke, and number 100, Nancy Walton Laurie.
  • Jacqueline Mars, 72, $17 billion. The heiress to the world’s biggest candy company is the third-richest woman and 16th overall.
  • Abigail Johnson, 50, $11.8 billion. President of the biggest business units of Fidelity Investments, the company her father founded, Johnson is the fourth-richest woman.
  • Laurene Powell Jobs, 48, $11 billion. Steve Jobs’s widow is America’s fifth-richest woman.
  • Anne Cox Chambers, 92, $10.7 billion. Number 32 on the list and the sixth-richest woman, Chambers is still on the Cox Enterprise board, a company her father, James Cox, started in 1898. Blair Parry-Okeden, 61, granddaughter of Cox, is right behind, as the seventh-richest woman.
  • Oprah Winfrey, 58, $2.7 billion. Once the country’s richest self-made woman, the media star has been passed up by Doris Fisher (cofounder of Gap) and Diane Hendricks (cofounder of ABC Supply), each estimated to be worth $2.9 billion. Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman trails at $1.7 billion.

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