Evelyn Jacks: Rich-Poor Gap? Blame Educated Women
Income inequality is a noted problem in society, and one covered in this blog recently. But it’s one that is complex and requires a closer analysis.
Lawrence Solomon, research director of the Consumer Policy Institute, has well noted this complexity in his article, Female drivers of income inequality, in the National Post last week.
The pull out was attention-grabbing: “One route to greater income equality would be to restrict education for women and arrange marriages for them.” Really? I was compelled to read on.
Several points were made by Mr. Solomon: today higher education pays more than ever, and contributes significantly to the fact that marriage dynamics have completely changed in Canada, to our economic benefit, especially since 2005. Doctors, lawyers, and other professionals are as likely to be women as men, and so when couples with post-secondary degrees marry, they pull in twice the median income or almost three times the extra amount their counterparts in the 1960s earned, when women were more likely to “marry up” to partners in different socio-economic classes.
Interesting. He goes on to say that at the other end of the education scale, men and women without a high school education who marry earn 59% less than the median income today...much less than what occurred in 1960. In the author’s words: "...the best educated households now have income more than five times that of the least educated groups, a more than doubling in the gap since the 1960s.”
He concludes that the trend to more education, especially for women, has been the key factor that has promoted the rich-poor gap so many find unconscionable. One route to greater income equality, therefore, would be to restrict education for women and arrange marriages for them! Given that alternative, income inequality – and that fact that educated women can now choose to marry their equals – may not be so bad for society after all.
It’s Your Money. Your Life. Last week, I suggested we aim for a high bell curve when it comes to income equality and household wealth. A sure fire way to earn higher incomes – and the resulting increase in disposable earnings for savings come to the rich – begins with an investment in post-secondary education...and it’s never too late to start.