Saturday was Women’s Equality Day, and women still earn far less than men. And perhaps even more distressing, women’s wealth is also far lower than that of men. The median wealth held by single women was just $3,210 compared to $10,150 for single men according to the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances. Short-term earnings are hindered by greater earning volatility as women are more likely to shift between full- and part-time jobs or leave the workforce, to have fluctuations in the number of part-time hours they work, and work in sectors with less stable, lower-income jobs. Long-term earnings are hindered by unequal pay, less time spent in the workforce, and less access to work-sponsored retirement plans. As Ray Suarez pointed out at our event on Retirement Tax-time Incentives, “men earn more, women save more, but neither is enough to prepare for retirement.”
Women make a large economic impact. Women with paid jobs represent $21 billion in American GDP each day. And this number doesn’t include unpaid contributions by women including childcare, caregiving, and domestic work like cooking and cleaning.