Shortchanged : Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It

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Women now receive more college degrees than men, and the wage gap between men and women has never been smaller. So why does the typical woman have only 36 cents for every dollar of wealth owned by the typical man? Why do single mothers have only 8% of the wealth of single fathers? The first book on gender and wealth, Shortchanged is a compelling and accessible examination of why women struggle to accumulate assets, who has what, and why it matters. Mariko Lin Chang draws on the most comprehensive national data on wealth and on in-depth interviews to show how differences in earnings, in saving and investing, and care-giving all contribute to the gender-wealth gap. She argues that the current focus on equal pay and family-friendly workplace policies, although important, will not ultimately change or eliminate wealth inequalities. What Chang calls the "wealth escalator"-comprised of fringe benefits, the tax code, and government benefits-and the "debt anchor" must be the targets of policies aimed at strengthening women's financial resources. Chang proposes a number of practical solutions to right this injustice.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 164 x 236 x 22mm | 458.13g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 16 black and white illustrations
  • 0195367693
  • 9780195367690

About Mariko Lin Chang

Mariko Lin Chang is a former Associate Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, a member of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development's Experts of Color Network, and a consultant specializing in the provision and analysis of data on the distribution of wealth in the U.S.
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Review quote

How many of the richest Americans are women? Given that women are just as likely as men to be born into wealth, and given that women now earn 78 cents on the dollar, you might imagine that the wealthy are at long last a gender-integrated crowd. But you'd be wrong. In a masterful scientific whodunit, Shortchanged explains why the wealth gap remains so extreme, even while women have made substantial gains in the labor market. If you're a fan of smart muckraking, of the passionate expose coupled to the very best science, Shortchanged is for you. David B. Grusky, Professor of Sociology, Stanford University A huge gap in the burgeoning literature on wealth and inequality has been the role of gender. Thank heavens for Mariko Chang's Shortchanged which fills in this gap and then some. By deftly combining qualitative and quantitative analysis of why and how women suffer from a staggering asset gap, this fine book throws down a gauntlet for gender scholars to reassess their prevailing models of household inequality. Dalton Conley, Dean for the Social Science and University Professor, New York University, and author of Elsewhere, U.S.A. Shortchanged brings gender into the wealth conversation. This insightful analysis pushes our thinking about gender equality beyond equal pay and workplace issues to structures and policies creating a profound gender wealth gap. Any understanding of opportunities and inequality in the United States, thanks to Mariko Chang, now must include the relationship between wealth and gender. Thomas M. Shapiro, Director of Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University Shortchanged is a very readable, enlightening, and provocative study on an extremely important issue-the gender wealth gap. Whereas the vast majority of studies on gender differences focus on labor earnings, income, or jobs, this is one of the first works to broaden the topic to include family wealth. Chang makes clear the gender wealth gap is a more meaningful measure of inequality that far exceeds these other dimensions. Edward Wolff, Professor of Economics, New York University Shortchanged provides a comprehensive account of the gender wealth gap, highlighting its causes and consequences and proposing solutions to improve women's economic well-being. Chang'smain contributions are twofold. First, she presents a thorough documentation of the wealth gap between men and women-a comparison not available anywhere else. Second, she identifies the underlying mechanisms that are responsible for the gender wealth gap... Thanks to current events like the Great Recession and the Occupy movement, Chang's account arrives on the scene at a time of heightened concern about wealth. Given its compelling and timely subject matter, accessible style, and theoretical insights, this book is ideal for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of wealth inequality. American Journal of Sociology
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Rating details

20 ratings
3.95 out of 5 stars
5 15% (3)
4 65% (13)
3 20% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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