Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Richest women in America

  • Richest women in America

    In previous articles, Stacker has compiled lists of some of the richest people in various countries around the world and in all 50 states. Overwhelmingly, the vast majority of individuals on this list have been male. This isn’t terribly surprising considering that in 2020, PayScale indicated women earn $0.81 for every $1 men earn. This pay gap is down from 2015, when women earned $0.74 for every $1 men earned.

    In 2016, Gabriel Zucman, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told the New York Times that “The higher up you move in the income distribution, the lower the proportion of women … [which] shows that there is a fundamental form of inequality at the top related to gender.” This gender disparity is made even more clear by the fact that the number of female billionaires is growing half as fast as the number of male billionaires. In 2016, when the article was written, only 12% of the billionaires in the world were female.

    Of these more than 200 female billionaires, 80% of them are American. In the following slides, Stacker takes a closer look at 50 of these female billionaires. Using data from Forbes, Stacker has compiled a list of the richest women in America. It’s ranked these wealthy women by their net worth as of June 24.

    The women on the list have earned their fortunes in various ways. Some, like the Waltons, the Pritzkers, and the Mars, are heiresses, inheriting some of the wealth created by their families’ businesses. Others, like Oprah Winfrey and Meg Whitman, are self-made. And still others built businesses with their husbands, like Marian Ilitch of Little Caesars Pizza and MacKenzie Bezos of Amazon. Regardless of how these women came into their fortunes, their economic impact is undeniable. Read on to see how many of these names you recognize.

    You may also like: Best public high schools in America

  • #50. Jean (Gigi) Pritzker

    - Net worth: $2.6 billion (#968 wealthiest person in the world)
    - Source of wealth: hotels, investments

    Jean (Gigi) Pritzker, 58, is one of several heirs to the Hyatt Hotels fortune. She is the founder of Madison Wells Media, an entertainment company named after the Chicago streets where her great-grandfather once sold newspapers, and has produced films such as “Ender’s Game” and “Hell or High Water.” Pritzker is also behind the Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation, which donates to nonprofits focused on the arts, education, and building community.

  • #49. Oprah Winfrey

    - Net worth: $2.6 billion (#954 wealthiest person in the world)
    - Source of wealth: TV shows

    A Black woman born to a teen mother in rural Mississippi, Oprah Winfrey’s path to success was not an easy one. Still, the media magnate turned her hit talk show, which ran for 25 years, into a multimillion dollar empire and her own cable network. Throughout the course of her career, Winfrey, 66, has donated more than $425 million to various causes, including $100 million to her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

  • #48. Penny Pritzker

    - Net worth: $2.7 billion (#948 wealthiest person in the world)
    - Source of wealth: hotels, investments

    Another heiress to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, Penny Pritzker, 61, served as the U.S. secretary of commerce under President Obama from 2013–2017. In the private sector, Pritzker has founded five companies, including PSP Partners, and sits on the board of several others, including Microsoft and Measure.

  • #47. Thai Lee

    - Net worth: $3 billion (#838 wealthiest person in the world)
    - Source of wealth: information technology provider

    Born in Bangkok and raised in South Korea, Thai Lee, 62, moved to the United States to attend high school. Armed with an MBA from Harvard University, Lee is now the CEO of SHI International, an information technology provider that boasts more than 20,000 customers. In 2018, she joined the board of Sonde Health, an affiliate of PureTech Health.

  • #46. Jane Goldman

    - Net worth: $3.1 billion (#796 wealthiest person in the world)
    - Source of wealth: real estate

    America’s only female billionaire running a real estate group, Jane Goldman, 65, owns Solil Management with her three siblings Allan, Amy, and Diane. Goldman is the youngest daughter of Sol Goldman, who, before his death, was one of New York City’s most prominent landlords. Among the family’s notable investments is a 17% stake in Manhattan’s World Trade Center developments.

    You may also like: What retirement is like in 50 places around the world

  • #45. Amy Goldman Fowler

    - Net worth: $3.1 billion (#796 wealthiest person in the world)
    - Source of wealth: real estate

    Jane Goldman’s older sister, Amy Goldman Fowler, 66, is another founder of the Solil Management real estate group. As a young adult, Fowler worked in her father’s real estate office, learning the trade and absorbing his business acumen. Her expertise extends beyond the real estate market—the businesswoman holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has won three American Horticultural Society book awards.

  • #44. Diane Kemper

    - Net worth: $3.1 billion (#796 wealthiest person in the world)
    - Source of wealth: real estate

    Finally, Diane Kemper, 74, is the oldest of Sol Goldman’s daughters and the final part-owner of the Solil Management real estate group on the list. For decades, Kemper acted as the head of the residential leasing department, until health issues several years ago forced her into an early retirement.

  • #43. Johnelle Hunt

    - Net worth: $3.1 billion (#792 wealthiest person in the world)
    - Source of wealth: trucking

    Until 1961, when she and her husband sold their house in order to start a rice hull packaging business, Johnelle Hunt, 88, was a stay-at-home mom. The duo turned that initial operation into J.B. Hunt Transport Services, one of the largest transportation companies in the world. Hunt acted as the company’s corporate secretary until her retirement in 2008, and remains the business’ largest individual shareholder with a 17% stake in the brand that bears her name.

  • #42. Denise York & family

    - Net worth: $3.2 billion (#764 wealthiest person in the world)
    - Source of wealth: San Francisco 49ers

    In 1977, Denise York’s father Edward Debartolo Sr. bought the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers for $13 million. Today, York and her family own more than 90% of the team, which is worth $3.5 billion, making it the fifth-most valuable team in the league. York was also president of the Pittsburgh Penguins, an NHL team, when it won its first Stanley Cup in 1991.

    [Pictured: Denise Debartolo York and brother Eddie Debartolo.]

  • #41. Gayle Benson

    - Net worth: $3.2 billion (#763 wealthiest person in the world)
    - Source of wealth: professional sports teams

    Once an interior designer and founder of thoroughbred horse racing’s GMB Racing, Gayle Benson, 73, married Tom Benson in 2004. When he died in 2018, she became the sole owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. The transfer of ownership wasn’t uncontested, with Tom’s daughter and several grandchildren fighting against his third wife for control over the teams.

    You may also like: Quiz: Do you know the country these companies are from?

2018 All rights reserved.