Though Western society strives to attain gender equality, of the top 100 richest Americans today, only 12 are women. The wage gap, the glass ceiling, underrepresentation of females… We’ve heard it all, we’ve bemoaned it all, but it’s slow to change. Is it still really is just a rich man’s world? The idea that only 12% of the top 100 richest Americans are female is certainly a disheartening statistic for advocates of gender equality. However, it’s worth noting that this figure, while low, is nonetheless a statistic on the rise.
The following list has been drawn up according to the most recent Forbes list of the richest people in America. The five richest women have been ranked according to their estimated net worth, from lowest to highest.
In what’s perhaps a telling piece of trivia, all five women on our list were lucky heiresses. However, each has been university educated and has had professional training, rising to the occasion of taking over the family business. Each of these women took over direction and management from their fathers, managing to maintain – and even boost – company profits. Highly successful in the professional realms of business, finance and media, most of the women on our list have also shown themselves to be exceptional philanthropists. The contributions of the wealthy women featured here have proven instrumental in the realms of educational development and in the arts, both through donations and active participation in the running of organisations. Their contributions to these organisations have been widely recognised and appreciated.
Yes, the stats are bleak; it seems the self-made female powerhouse is still something of an American dream rather than a common reality. But these women from money are still doing their bit to forge a path for powerful and successful females. With the number of female American billionaires on the rise, in the future this list may well be scatter with entrepreneurial names. For the moment, these heiresses are the 5 wealthiest women in America.
Anne Cox Chambers – $ 15.5 Billion
94 year old Anne Cox Chambers is the fifth wealthiest American woman and, despite her age, still sits on the board of the privately-held media conglomerate Cox Enterprises. Cox Enterprises was founded by Anna’s father, James Cox, in 1898. The enterprise is hugely successful, boasting a revenue of $ 15.300 billion in 2012. Chambers is the majority owner of the company which is also directed by her late sister’s two children. Cox Enterprises owns Cox Communications, television and radio stations, newspapers, the automobile auction company Manheim Auctions, automobile marketplace AutoTrader.com, as well as the direct marketing company Valpak.
From Atlanta, Georgia, Chambers studied arts and sciences at Finch College. She has been married twice and has three children. Chambers is a generous financial supporter of the Democratic Party, and has acted as ambassador to Belgium under President Jimmy Carter. A professed Francophile, in 2009 she was awarded Commander of the Legion of Honour by the French culture minister Frederic Mittérand for her contributions to the advancement of arts and literature.