To the extent that "having it all" means women having the same economic security as men, this chart on relative poverty shows it's still an elusive goal.

When I was United States Ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, I asked for the highlights of their cross-country data on women's economic conditions. Inspired by that provocative data, the other members of the OECD and its Secretary General decided to launch a new gender initiative. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing data from the gender initiative and other related OECD reports.

Risk of relative poverty of men and women by age, OECD average, 2008
Poverty rate of the entire population = 100

kornbluh_povertygap_resize.jpg

To the extent that "having it all" means women having the same economic security as men, this OECD chart on relative poverty shows it's still an elusive goal.

The data show that across the OECD's 34 developed nations, on average more women were poor than men at every age in 2008, with an even wider average gap in the U.S. The one exception to this trend was in the 41 to 50 age bracket—but that exception only existed for the OECD average. In the United States, the gap still existed for that age range.

The greatest gap was in the oldest age groups, especially in the U.S. This means that women born in the Depression are over 50 percent more likely to be in poverty than men of their same age. And even women in their early twenties face a greater risk of poverty than men.

The gap results from a host of factors including the fact that women earn less than men—resulting from fewer years in the workplace, industry and occupational segregation, wage discrimination, the glass ceiling, and the mommy track—as well as lower earned pensions and Social Security and longer lives.

What can be done to help close the poverty gap? Policies and practices (like paid sick days and increased access to health care) can help improve economic security for all women, including the most vulnerable.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    A Horrifying Glimpse Into Your Dystopian Future Transit Commute

    A comic artist’s take on what the future of transportation might really feel like.

  2. A cyclist rides on the bike lane in the Mid Market neighborhood during Bike to Work Day in San Francisco,
    Perspective

    Why Asking for Bike Lanes Isn't Smart

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  3. Two men look over city plans at a desk in an office.
    Equity

    The Doomed 1970s Plan to Desegregate New York’s Suburbs

    Ed Logue was a powerful agent of urban renewal in New Haven, Boston, and New York City. But his plan to build low-income housing in suburbia came to nought.

  4. a photo of cyclists riding beside a streetcar in the Mid Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
    Transportation

    San Francisco’s Busiest Street Is Going Car-Free

    A just-approved plan will redesign Market Street to favor bikes, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles. But the vote to ban private cars didn’t happen overnight.

  5. Uber Eats worker
    Life

    The Millennial Urban Lifestyle Is About to Get More Expensive

    As WeWork crashes and Uber bleeds cash, the consumer-tech gold rush may be coming to an end.

×