Gender wealth gap soars to 42% by age 64 with staggering 177% disparity in shares and severe long-term economic impact on women, warns Women’s Budget Group
Date Posted: Monday 2nd October 2023
Please note: a previous version of this press release included a mismatch in the percentage gap and age band in the key findings on the gendered distribution of wealth by age. This was changed on 3 October 2023 to include the correct figures. We apologise for any inconvenience.
The Women’s Budget Group, the UK’s leading feminist economics think tank, has today published new analysis on the gender wealth gap, sourced from ONS Wealth and Assets Survey.
Together with Tax Justice UK and Patriotic Millionaires UK, they are calling on the UK Government and opposition parties to adopt wealth taxes which will help close the gender wealth gap and promote a gender equal economy.
- Men have on average £92,762 more in total wealth than women, a gap of 35%.
- Among 25 to 34, the average gender wealth gap is negligible. Within the ages of 35 to 44, it is 28%. After age 45, the average gender wealth gap starts growing significantly. By age 64, the average gender wealth gap is 42%.
- For men, the main source of wealth is private pension, which is an individual source of wealth. Whereas for women, over 50% of their wealth comes from property and physical wealth (household possessions and vehicles), which is shared with other household members.
- The gap between the average value of UK shares held by men and women is £3,974, a gap of 177%.
- Men have an average private pension wealth of £83,879 more than women, a gap of 90%.
Tax Justice UK and Patriotic Millionaires UK have previously set out six wealth tax policies that could raise up to £50 billion, including:
- a proposal for a 2% annual wealth tax on people with £10 million in assets which could raise £22 billion a year.
- equalizing capital gains with income tax rates, raising up to £15.2 billion a year.
Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, WBG Director said,
“Tax is the contribution we all make to a healthy and well-functioning society. How much tax we pay should be linked to the resources we have to draw from.”
“It’s not right that income from wealth is taxed at a lower rate than earnings from employment. It also makes no sense to leave personal wealth itself untouched while inequality rises, and public services like schools, nurseries, social care and the NHS fall to pieces.”
“Men earn more on average than women over a lifetime largely because they do less unpaid care work than women and are therefore more able to work full time and climb higher up the career ladder.”
“This leaves men with more disposable income to invest in assets and shares and in private pensions, which translate into higher levels of wealth. Meanwhile, women shoulder the majority of unpaid care, and are more likely to live in poverty as a result.”
“And it is women, especially Black and minoritized women, working class women, disabled women and lone parents, currently bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis while being told there’s no money for the social security and social infrastructure they desperately need.”
“Raising money through greater taxes on wealth could contribute to higher investment in public services, which are the foundations of our economy. Moreover, wealth taxes would transfer money from wallet to purse contributing to a fairer and more gender equal economy.”
Geetie Singh-Watson, a member of the Patriotic Millionaires UK said,
“Failing to tax wealth appropriately has far reaching consequences. Allowing the huge chasm between the very richest and the rest to continue growing only serves to exacerbate and compound existing inequalities, such as the gender wealth gap.
It’s outrageous that our economic system allows money to accumulate disproportionately with those that already have it. It’s no coincidence that men make up the majority of millionaires, and will continue to do so if we don’t take action to redistribute resources through fair taxation. It’s time we tax wealth more effectively to rebalance the scales of our society.”
Notes to Editors
- The components of Total net wealth in the WAS are private pension wealth, financial wealth, physical wealth and property wealth.
- The only element that includes only wealth at the individual level is pension wealth. The other elements combine personal wealth and household wealth, which is distributed among the adult members of the household.
- Link to Briefing by Tax Justice UK with breakdown of £50 billion raised through wealth taxes: https://www.taxjustice.uk/blog/brits-back-an-annual-tax-on-the-super-rich-to-help-rebuild-the-nhs-and-public-services
- In 2021, the top 1% wealthiest individuals concentrated 21.3% of the total wealth in the UK.
About the Women’s Budget Group
The UK Women’s Budget Group (WBG) is the UK’s leading feminist economics think tank, providing evidence and analysis on women’s economic position and proposing policy alternatives for a gender-equal economy. We act as a link between academia, the women’s voluntary sector and progressive economic think tanks.
WBG spokesperson available for comment, contact: