For the first time ever, the report, now in its ninth edition, included a chapter on women and their role in global wealth, with the data showing that they are becoming more and more successful within the highest wealth ranks.
The report notes that women are well-represented among the many billionaires in China, with the Hurun global rich list even claiming that two-thirds of the world’s self-made billionaire women are Chinese.
However, while ‘self-made women’ are at the very top of the global wealth ladder, certain groups, such as single women and single mothers, still find themselves at a disadvantage.
The report attributes the growth of female wealth to the fact that over the past several decades women have become better educated than men
Geographic location also plays a central role in the way women contribute to global wealth. For instance, in Europe and North America women’s share of wealth falls in the 40-45% range, while their African and Indian counterparts range between 20% and 30%.
The report attributes the growth of female wealth to the fact that, over the past several decades, women have become better educated than men. The ones who get married and have kids do so later in life, and they are employed, earning and saving more.
Gender pay gap
However, the wealth disparity between genders (an average 40:60 globally in favour of men) is also attributed to the continued gender pay gap, where young women end up earning less than their male counterparts.
According to the latest data from EU statistical office Eurostat, in 2016, European women earned on average 16% less than European men. Similarly, in the US, a woman earns on average 80.5 cents for $1 a man earns, as reported by the US Census Bureau.
Female millennials (women who came of age after the year 2000), nonetheless, have earned more than millennial men, according to the report. Credit Suisse links this to the way male-centric industries were impacted by the 2008 financial crisis, allowing millennial women to peak.
Additionally, the report found that the disparity between men and women’s global wealth had also to do with the latter being less likely to take financial risks and more likely to invest their assets in non-financial forms (eg property).
Even though women are saving more than men, their aversion to risky financial investments leaves them behind when compared to their male counterparts.
In the UK
The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows a similar trend for young people (aged 16-29) where, although women earn on average less than men, they have a higher average pension wealth.
The data shows a 61% increase in median earning growth for people aged 16 to 24 during the 2012-2016 period (to 28.7% in 2016 from 17.6% in 2012), and a 45% increase for those aged 25 to 29 (to 6.8% in 2016 from 3.1% in 2012).
For instance, men and women of the same age group, university educated and living in London, have an average salary difference of more than £2,300 ($2,990, €2,600) with women earning £24,767 compared to £27,081 for men.
Nevertheless, according to ONS figures on pensions for the 2014-2016 period, 16-24-year-old men have around £3,000 in a pension compared to the £3,900 women have.