The Gender Gap in Financial Security

What We Know and Don't Know about Australian Households
JournalFeminist Economics
AuthorsRachel Ong ViforJ, Therese Jefferson
PublishedMay 2014
PublisherRoutledge, United Kingdom

This study investigates the gender wealth gap in Australia by examining differences in the net worth of households headed by single women and men, using data from the 2006 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. It demonstrates that the gender wealth gap is concentrated in particular types of assets, and differences in the composition of wealth, especially in high net worth households, are an important feature of the wealth gap in Australia. Using decomposition techniques within a quantile regression framework, the study explores the effects of individual characteristics of single male and female households on their wealth and finds that individual factors play a relatively small role in accounting for the large gender wealth gap at the top of the wealth distribution. Therefore, differences in the composition of men and women’s wealth portfolios contribute to the gender wealth gap, and future research must account for these differences.