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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

(p.59) Four How the Deck is Stacked Against Mothers

Mariko Lin Chang

Oxford University Press

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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