The glass ceiling continues to ensure that women make a fraction of every dollar made by men doing the same job. Still, whether through inheritance or self made fortunes, there are more female billionaires now than at any other time in history. Here are the ten richest women in North America.
Most of Christy Walton’s wealth was inherited from her husband, John Walton, an heir to the Wal-Mart fortune. Some of it comes from her investment in shares of First Solar which have recently appreciated in value. She is currently the richest woman in the world and known for her generous donations to charities including the Centre for Cross Border Philanthropy and the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. Her net worth is $36.7 Billion.
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Alice Walton’s fortune comes from her father Sam Walton who founded Wal-Mart. She studied Finance and Economics at college and has donated millions of dollars to children’s educational programs and schools. A longstanding patron of the arts, her collection has a value estimated at over $500 Million. Her net worth is $34.3 Billion.
The Mars candy corporation was founded by Jacqueline Badger Mars’ grandparents and she inherited her wealth in the form of partial ownership of the company. Twice married and divorced, she studied anthropology at university and was recently involved in a serious vehicular accident. Her net worth is $20 Billion.
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Abigail Johnson is the granddaughter of Edward C. Johnson II, founder of the Fidelity Group of which her father is CEO. She holds a masters degree from Harvard University and began her career as an analyst at Fidelity Investments. She currently occupies the position of president and has a net worth of $17.3 Billion.
At 94 years old, Anne Beau Cox Chambers is the oldest billionaire on our list. Her wealth was passed down to her from her father who founded the media empire, Cox Enterprises. She has served as a director on Coca Cola’s board, continues to sit on the board of Cox Enterprises and almost solely owns the website AutoTrader.com. Her net worth is $15.5 Billion.
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As widow of Apple Inc. founder, the late Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs has inherited billions of dollars worth of shares in both Apple and the Disney corporation. She holds a masters degree from Stanford and currently serves on the board of their open courseware provider, Udacity. Her net worth stands at $14 Billion.
Her wealth comes from her late husband who inherited more than ten percent of Koch Industries when his father J. Howard Marshall II passed away. Elaine and her husband were involved in a much publicized legal battle with Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith, their mother in law and stepmother respectively. J. Howard Marshall III was disinherited and has also attempted to sue Elaine for a share of the estate. Her net worth is $8.8 Billion.
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Niece of Ann Beau Cox Chambers, Blair Parry-Okeden owns a quarter of Cox Enterprise. In stark contrast with her aunt, she shows no interest in participating in the running of the family business and though American by birth she lives a simple life of relative anonymity in Australia. Her net worth is approximately $6.7 Billion.
Dannine Avara’s wealth was inherited as a stake in Enterprise Products which was founded by her father, Dan Duncan. The family-run company handles billions of dollars worth of natural gas and related infrastructure. Her net worth stands at $6.3 Billion.
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Another heir to the Duncan fortune, Randa also inherited partial ownership of Enterprise Products after her father’s death. She is a lawyer by trade and has held the position of CEO of the family business as well as Vice President. She serves on the boards of several institutions including the Manned Space Flight Foundation and the Houston Zoo. She has a net worth of $6.3 Billion.