Christy Ruth Walton (born 1955) is the widow of John T. Walton, one of the sons of Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart. After John's death in June 2005, she inherited his fortune of US$15.7 billion. According to Forbes, she is the 6th richest person in the United States, and the 10th richest person in the world, as of March 2012. Forbes reported that she was the richest woman in the world for seven years running, and still held the title in March 2012. As of August 2012, she and her family had an estimated net worth of $29.9 billion, the bulk of which comes from her shares in Wal-Mart, but also from First Solar, in which her husband invested. As of October of 2012, Walton was listed as the 9th richest person in the world.
It was a record-breaking year for women on the FORBES list of the World Billionaires. Out of 1,645 billionaires, a record 172 are women – up from 138 last year. There’s no denying that women are still a tiny minority on the list, representing a little over 10% of the total.
At its snowy retreat in the Swiss Alps, the World Economic Forum is debating how much inequality is too much. The aid charity Oxfam pointed out that a glance through the richest 100 people in the world shows that the pendulum has already swung heavily in favour of an elite group: the top 85 in the Forbes rich list control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population put together.