Women make up just 14% of The Forbes 400. But these 56 Heiresses are worth a collective $564 billion.

Lisette Voytko

By Lisette Voytko Forbes Staff – 2021 –

My cmnt: Like chess players, mathematicians, theoretical physicists, etc., almost all of the top people in these fields and almost all of the billionaires in America and the world are men. The female billionaires almost always inherit their fortunes from their dead (or divorced husbands) or fathers.

My cmnt: Why this should be, given that becoming a billionaire does not depend on superior size or strength, is not hard to understand. To get to the top of these professions requires uncommon intelligence, drive, and single-minded focus. While many women have uncommon intelligence, very few women have uncommon drive and even less have single-minded (i.e., nerd-like) focus.

My cmnt: Almost all women who ascend to the top of their fields find staying there unbearable – particularly if they are competing against men. See my blog on Judit Pulgar the top women’s chess player in the world and her closet rival Hou Yifan. Women want families and to have children. So do men. Men marry women to fulfill those desires while they go off and fight dragons. Women must create families from their own bodies and once they have children they become the most important thing in the world to them. Women also have other interests that are as important to them and which they want to pursue.

My cmnt: U.S. women’s soccer forward Carli Lloyd shut down comparisons between her decision to retire after this year and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady playing well into his 40s, saying he “doesn’t have to have kids.” 

My cmnt: Men go home to a well-managed house and to the comfort of their wives and children. After women have been at work for very long they start to worry about their house and children and what their husbands are up to. No matter what Leftist-Lib-Feminists wish or desire or fantasize they have been unable to change human nature. Men do what they do to have access to desirable women. Women do what they do to have access to successful men and security for themselves and their children.

The richest people in America are still predominantly men. But, among this year’s Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the U.S., women continue to hold their ground. A total of 56 women made this year’s list, unchanged from a year ago (this includes two women—Judy Love and Lynda Resnick—who share a multi-billion dollar fortune with their husbands). They’re worth a collective $564 billion, up by more than $100 billion from 2020.

With an estimated net worth of $67.9 billion, Walmart heiress Alice Walton remains the richest woman in the U.S. for the seventh year running. She’s $5.6 billion richer than last year as a result of the 13% rise in Walmart stock.

MacKenzie Scott, ex-spouse of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is the second richest woman for the second year in a row. This comes despite her giving away nearly $8.6 billion since 2020 to some 780 nonprofits as part of her ongoing efforts to donate her Amazon riches—which she described as made from “systems in need of change,” in a Medium blog post in June. Scott’s net worth still increased by $1.5 billion in the past year to $58.5 billion due to Amazon’s rising stock.

More than 90% of the women on the 2021 Forbes 400 list got richer since last year. But the biggest gainer in dollar terms is Fidelity Investments chief executive Abigail Johnson, whose net worth increased a stunning $10 billion to $25.2 billion, thanks to strong performance across the asset management space. She’s grown Fidelity’s discretionary assets by nearly $1.3 trillion, to $4.2 trillion, since last year. The next largest bump went to Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple visionary Steve Jobs and founder of investment and advocacy firm Emerson Collective, thanks to a 66% jump in Apple stock and a 53% rise in Disney shares.

Although the total number of women list members remains the same, three newcomers and one returnee replaced four women from last year’s ranking. Oprah Winfrey dropped from the list despite her $2.6 billion fortune holding steady, making 2021 the first time in 26 years she hasn’t made The Forbes 400. Doris Fisher, cofounder of retailer Gap, also dropped off this year, as did real estate heirs (and siblings) Amy Goldman Fowler and Diane Kemper of New York. 

Newcomers include Melinda French Gates, now worth at least $6.3 billion after receiving billions worth of public stock as part of her divorce from Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates; and Miriam Adelson, who inherited her late husband Sheldon Adelson’s entire stake in casino empire Las Vegas Sands. Also new this year: Trudy Cathy White, who joins after Forbes found documentation showing she inherited part of the Chick-Fil-A fried chicken chain started by her father, Truett Cathy (d. 2014), in 1967; her two brothers, Bubba Cathy and Dan Cathy, have been Forbes 400 members since 2015. Returning to the list this year after dropping off in 2017, with an estimated $3.2 billion net worth, is Gail Miller, largely thanks to selling most of her family’s majority stake in NBA’s Utah Jazz for some $1.66 billion in October 2020.

Fewer women this year have self-made (as opposed to inherited) fortunes, with just 10 claiming the distinction—down from 11 in 2020. (The remaining 46 inherited their wealth.) Roofing supply billionaire Diane Hendricks is again the wealthiest of the self-made group, with an estimated $11 billion fortune, an increase of $3 billion due to revenue increase and a healthy year over year performance across the roofing industry. Racial diversity also decreased this year; with Oprah’s departure, IT chief executive Thai Lee is the only person of color among America’s richest women.

My cmnt: Only one woman in the top ten made her own fortune. Even she built their business together with her late husband, Ken. Abagail Johnson of Fidelity Investments does run the company and quite successfully though she still is the granddaughter of the founder Edward Johnson II.

Here are the 10 richest women on the 2021 Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. Net worths are as of September 3, 2021.

1. Alice Walton

Net Worth: $67.9 billion

Source: Walmart

Nov 13, 2021 · Alice Walton is the only daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton. She has focused on curating art, rather than working for Walmart like her siblings, Rob and Jim.

2. MacKenzie Scott

Net Worth: $58.5 billion

Source: Amazon

As of May 29, 2021, she has a net worth of US$57.0 billion, owing to a 4% stake in Amazon, after her divorce from Amazon founder and former chief executive Jeff Bezos.

3. Julia Koch & family

Net Worth: $51 billion

Source: Koch Industries

She inherited her fortune from her husband, David Koch, who died in 2019.

4. Jacqueline Mars

Net Worth: $31`.8 billion

Source: candy, pet food

Jacqueline Mars owns an estimated one-third of Mars, the world’s largest candymaker, founded by her grandfather. Her brother John owns an estimated third of Mars; her late brother Forrest Jr’s. four daughters own the rest.

5. Miriam Adelson

Net Worth: $30.4 billion

Source: casinos

Miriam Adelson is the widow of Sheldon Adelson, the former CEO and chairman of casino company Las Vegas Sands, who died at 87 in January 2021

6. Abigail Johnson

Net Worth: $25.2 billion

Source: money management

Since 2014, Johnson has been president and chief executive officer of American investment firm Fidelity Investments (FMR), and chairman of its international sister company Fidelity International (FIL). Fidelity was founded by her grandfather Edward C. Johnson II.

7. Laurene Powell Jobs

Net Worth: $22.1 billion

Source: Apple, Disney

Laurene Powell Jobs inherited billions of dollars of stock in Apple and Disney from her late husband, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011.

8. Diane Hendricks

Net Worth: $11 billion

Source: roofing

Diane Hendricks chairs ABC Supply, one of the largest wholesale distributors of roofing, siding and windows in America. Hendricks cofounded the business with her late husband, Ken, in Beloit, Wisconsin, in 1982. She has run it since his death in 2007. She led ABC to make the two biggest acquisitions in its history, buying rival Bradco in 2010 and building materials distributor L&W Supply in 2016. Hendricks sold custom homes for a builder before meeting Ken, a roofer.

9. Blair Parry-Okeden

Net Worth: $9.7 billion

Source: media, automotive

Blair Parry-Okeden (born 1950) is an American-born Australian billionaire heiress and philanthropist. According to Forbes Asia, she was Australia’s richest person by net worth in 2016. Parry-Okeden is an heiress to the Cox Enterprises. She has no role at the company. She is a former teacher and wrote a children’s book, Down By The Gate, in 1989

10. Ann Walton Kroenke

Net Worth: $9.3 billion

Source: Walmart

Ann Walton Kroenke is an American business owner and an heiress to the Walmart fortune. At present, she owns Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Colorado Avalanche of National Hockey League (NHL). Her father was James “Bud” Walton, the brother and an early business partner of the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton.

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