Sep 20, 2012 7:00 PM by Lauren Molenburg
Women have helped build some of the biggest companies in America, and they have the bank accounts to show for it. A look at some of the nation's female self-made billionaires on this year's Forbes 400 list:
Jin Sook Chang, net worth $4.5 billion
Immigrating from South Korea in 1981, Jin Sook and husband Do Won created the Forever 21 clothing chain, which now spans nearly 500 stores. The couple is No. 79 on this year's Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.
Gayle Cook, 78, net worth $3.7 billion, No. 104
Gayle Cook and her late husband, William, created the medical device company Cook Group in Indiana in 1963. Gayle continues to serve on the board.
Doris Fisher, 81, net worth $2.9 billion, No. 142
Doris Fisher and her late husband Donald founded the Gap in San Francisco in 1969. Gap Inc. has grown to include Banana Republic and Old Navy brands, among others, and operates over 3,000 stores across the world.
Diane Hendricks, 65, net worth $2.9 billion, No. 142
Diane Hendricks is chairman and co-founder, with late husband Kenneth, of Wisconsin-based ABC Supply, the largest roofing, window and siding wholesale distributor in the country.
Michael & Marian Ilitch, net worth $2.7 billion, No. 151
Marian Ilitch and husband Michael opened a pizza shop in 1959 and grew it into the Little Caesar's Pizza chain.
Oprah Winfrey, 58, net worth $2.7 billion, No. 151
The nation's only African-American billionaire, Oprah Winfrey came from meager beginnings to build a television empire with massive influence on what people around the globe read, eat and think.
Stewart & Lynda Resnick, net worth $2.2 billion, No. 218
Lynda and Stewart Resnick own POM Wonderful, Fiji Water, the flower delivery service Teleflora and some of the nation's largest nut and citrus farms.
Andrew & Peggy Cherng, net worth $2 billion, No. 239
Andrew & Peggy Cherng came from China in 1966 and together founded the Panda Express restaurant chain, growing it into a $1.6 billion business that operates 1,500 locations.
Judy Faulkner, 68, net worth $1.7 billion, No. 285
In 1979, Judy Faulkner founded electronic health records company Epic Systems, which will be used by over 40 percent of the U.S. population by next year.
Meg Whitman, 56, net worth $1.7 billion, No. 285
Meg Whitman made her fortune as CEO of online marketplace eBay Inc. After a failed bid for California governor, the tech exec has taken on the challenge of turning around Hewlett-Packard.
Johnelle Hunt, 80, net worth $1.6 billion, No. 298
With late husband Johnnie, Johnelle Hunt founded J.B. Hunt Transport Services in 1969 and grew the company into one of the largest truckers in the nation.
Elaine Wynn, 69, net worth $1.4 billion, No. 328
With now-ex-husband Steve, Elaine Wynn founded a casino empire that included The Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn and Encore resorts, among others.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)