Connecticut National Public Radio recently aired a broadcast featuring Dr. Mariko Chang, the author of Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It

Dr. Chang argues that while the income gap between men and women is narrowing, women retain less wealth than men.   The income gap still exists; women earn seventy-eight cents for every dollar the men earn.  However, even though this income gap is narrowing, women only have half the wealth of men.   This is especially true for divorced women with children, who have a median wealth of $35,010 compared to $61,300 for divorced men with children. 

Dr. Chang presents several explanations for the wealth divide.  Women typically support more people on their income because they are more likely to have custody of their children.  Also, women are less likely to have jobs that offer retirement investment. 

Since women live longer, it is important for them to maintain higher levels of wealth.  According to Dr. Chang, closing the income gap will not make a big difference so long as women continue to support more people on their income and are unable to save money.

Photo by 401K, “money and savings,”February 9, 2012.  Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

Written by Carolyn Trotta. Carolyn is an intern at Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund and a student at Central Connecticut State University.