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ShortchangedWhy Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It$
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Mariko Lin Chang

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367690

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367690.001.0001

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How the Deck is Stacked Against Mothers

How the Deck is Stacked Against Mothers

Chapter:
(p.59) Four How the Deck is Stacked Against Mothers
Source:
Shortchanged
Author(s):

Mariko Lin Chang

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367690.003.0004

This chapter investigates the effect that parenthood has on wealth for men and for women. Whether married or single, women who become mothers are placed in a “no-win” situation. For every year a woman is a full-time caregiver, she must work five extra years to make up for the lost income and pension benefits. Even if she goes back to work full-time, she will face a motherhood wage penalty. This chapter also discusses a “motherhood wealth tax,” which is greatest for nonmarried mothers because they are likely to have custody of children and to have less disposable income to save or invest. As a consequence, the gender wealth gap would continue to exist even if men and women had equal incomes simply because women are more likely to have custody of children.

Keywords:   parenthood, wealth, pension benefits, motherhood wage penalty, nonmarried mothers, motherhood wealth tax, children custody

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