Why do Women Accumulate Less Wealth than Men
Bessière, Céline; Gollac, Sibylle (2021), Why do Women Accumulate Less Wealth than Men, in Marlène Benquet; Théo Bourgeron, Accumulating Capital Today. Contemporary Strategies of Profit and Dispossessive Policies, Routledge : London, p. 224-234
Book titleAccumulating Capital Today. Contemporary Strategies of Profit and Dispossessive Policies
Book authorMarlène Benquet; Théo Bourgeron
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Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Sciences Sociales [IRISSO]
Centre de recherches sociologiques et politiques de Paris [CRESPPA]
Abstract (EN)In contemporary capitalism, inequality of wealth is increasing. Some upper-class families appropriate economic capital and pass it on to their children, while others are permanently deprived of it. At the same time, while women have largely entered the labor market and the gender pay gap is on the political agenda in all Western countries, the gender wealth gap is not closing, quite the opposite. In this chapter we explore family wealth arrangements in France. Estate planning and marital breakdowns are two moments when families and legal professionals strive to preserve real estate and businesses, or to minimize taxes. For this purpose, they produce inventories, estimations and distributions of assets which end up disadvantaging women, even though shares may appear to be formally equal. Reversed accounting is a common logic of practice, in which the result comes first and computation only after, as a means to legitimize the sharing that has been (forcefully) agreed on. Thus, it is not only the wealth of the upper class that is underestimated, but more particularly men’s wealth. Those mechanisms contribute to impoverish women. We conclude that class society reproduces itself thanks to the male appropriation of capital.
Subjects / Keywordsaccumulation; capital; femmes; genre; inégalités hommes femmes; sociologie
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