Marrying a man with good prospects remains the main way for a woman to access the 1%

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his now estranged wife MacKenzie Bezos. The glass ceiling remains “firmly intact” even among the richest, suggests a new study.

Charley Gallay / Getty Images for Amazon Studios

Love & Money is a MarketWatch series that examines the impact our relationship with money has on our relationships with loved ones, friends and family. This story was reposted for International Women’s Day on March 8.

At Equal pay day, the glass ceiling remains “firmly intact” even among the richest.

This is according to a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal American sociological journal. The status of 1% of a household – a threshold calculated here at nearly $ 845,000 in 2016 dollars – is “rarely obtained” thanks to the income of women, he found. Women’s income alone qualifies them for 1% status in only 5% of elite households, while women’s income is “necessary” to push a household above this threshold in only 15% of households. households.

The 10 richest people in America are all men, according to Forbes’ annual list of the 400 richest Americans.

“Although self-employment and higher education increase the likelihood that women will personally earn enough income for the 1% status, marrying a man with good income prospects is still the main route to the 1% in because of inequalities in the labor market, ”he added. Author Jill Yavorsky, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, told MarketWatch.

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An even bleaker observation: this gender gap has persisted for decades. “Women have made virtually no progress in earning enough income to qualify for the top 1% since the mid to late 1990s,” Yavorsky said.

The researchers used data from 1995 to 2016 from the US Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Their findings, Yavorsky said, indicate “a persistent male dominance of income resources in wealthier families.” While this does not mean that women in richer households are “powerless or marginalized,” she and her co-authors added, it does suggest that they do not wield as much “substantial” power as their male counterparts. .

Also see:The gender gap begins in ninth grade

If women’s income turns out to be relatively insignificant in most elite households, then one of the main drivers of income inequality is “a small group of men whose income is growing disproportionately relative to all of them. the others, ”wrote Yavorsky and his co-authors Lisa Keister of Duke University, Yue Qian of the University of British Columbia and Michael Naud of Ohio State University. (Consider, for example, that the richest 1% in the United States made 26.3 times more than the remaining 99% in 2015.)

The 10 richest people in America are all men, according to Forbes Annual List of the richest 400 Americans published in October.

Women are entitled to 1% status in only 5% of elite households, while women’s income is required to meet this threshold in only 15% of households.

The first woman on the list, Walmart WMT,
-0.19%
heiress Alice Walton, points at No.12 with a net worth of $ 44.9 billion – followed by Candy Mars Heiress Jacqueline Mars at No.18 ($ 24 billion), philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs at No ° 20 ($ 20.5 billion), widow of the late Apple AAPL,
+ 1.72%
CEO Steve Jobs, and Fidelity Investments FNF,
+ 1.72%
CEO Abigail Johnson at No.28 ($ 17.3 billion).

MacKenzie Bezos, the ex-wife of the richest man in the world Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon AMZN,
+1.09%
), is set to become the richest woman in the world if she comes out of their divorce proceedings with half of their $ 139 billion ($ 69.5 billion) fortune.

Inequalities within the household also keep women behind, Yavorsky suggested. Mothers are more likely than fathers to experience career interruptions such as reduced work hours, extended leave or job abandonment, according to a 2013 study Pew Research Center report.

In addition, women spend more time on childcare and housework than men, Yavorsky pointed out, “in a way that can hurt their future income.” Yavorsky presented three ways to help women increase their chances of getting into high-income positions:

• Provide better access to financial capital to help women entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

• Changing hostile or biased cultures within elite male dominated fields – like finance and law – “that keep women out of it in the first place, or repel them once they get into it” .

• Promote women to higher management positions.

The findings of Yavorsky and her colleagues, she said, signify “a broader problem of labor market inequality between men and women” in which men’s human capital – like education and entrepreneurship – works much more effectively to earn them the best income.

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About Clayton Arredondo

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