How to Fight the Gender Wealth Gap

By Sallie Krawcheck

The gender pay gap gets a lot more play than the gender wealth gap: 145 times more results in a Google search, to be exact.

But the gender wealth gap is way more important.

The gender pay gap is how much money women earn in comparison to men. The gender wealth gap is how much money women have (or keep) in comparison to men.

The gender pay gap for women “overall” is 82 cents to every white man’s dollar. But let’s be more specific. Some more detailed pay gaps are:

  • 86 cents for Asian women

  • 75 cents for white women

  • 61 cents for Black women

  • 58 cents for Indigenous women

  • 52 cents for Latinas

There’s less specific data for the gender wealth gap (seriously, why aren’t people paying more attention to this?), but we know that for every dollar a white man owns:

Maybe the gender pay gap gets more play because it feels like the most readily addressable way to close the gender wealth gap. Low-hanging fruit, and all that. But it’s not enough on its own, because there’s so much more at play than just how much we get paid.

So what are the other pieces of the puzzle that we should be talking about? What’s contributing to the difference between how much women earn and how much we keep?

They’re not all things we can fix by ourselves, or at least easily. Systems take time to dismantle, after all.

But there are actions we can take.

Let’s step through some of the causes of the widening gender wealth gap and what we can do about them:

Debt: Women have more debt than men do, and it costs us more.
Actions: Read our best advice on how to pay down debt, increase your credit score, and pay off student loans. Buy a Budgeting and Debt Planning session.

Investing: Women don’t invest as much of their money as men do, even adjusted for women’s lower wealth (and Black families only invest half of what white families do). Since historically wealth compounds, women are not just behind, but falling further behind.
Actions: Sign up for a free workshop on how it all works. Learn more about when a good time to invest might be. Keep protesting for racial justice, because the racial wealth gap keeps Black families from investing and building generational wealth.

Real estate: Women pay more for housing and get less out of it. And 72% of white households own homes, compared to 41% of Black households and 47.5% of Latinx households.
Actions: Get help deciding whether now’s the right time to buy. Call your legislators to tell them to take action against the Black property tax and predatory mortgage lending.

The pink tax: No, we’re not talking about women frivolously spending more, so forget the fact that 65% of articles on women and money in popular media tell us that we spend frivolously. The pink tax is because we are expected to spend on things like hair and makeup, and because service providers like dry cleaners charge us more. It costs women an average of an extra $1,531 a year.
Actions: Sign a petition to ban the pink tax. Schedule a budgeting and spending session to work around it. Call it out every time you see it. (Every damn time.)

Life: Some of this is because women take more career breaks than men do — to parent, to care for relatives.
Actions: Career breaks affect women’s wealth. Learn what to do to prepare for kids financially.

Earnings: Yes, of course, some of this wealth gap is about what you earn as well. We’ve got you.
Actions: Get our advice on negotiating a job offer or a raise. And start comparing salaries with everyone. Literally everyone. (How else will you know what to ask for?)

Sallie Krawcheck Signature


All women, non-binary people, and anyone else who identifies as underrepresented because of their gender identity.

As of July 6, 2020, a Google search for “gender pay gap” returns 7,520,000 results, and a search for “gender wealth gap” returns 51,900 results.

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Sallie Krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck is the Founder & CEO of Ellevest.