Women currently account for about 40 percent of total global wealth, with significant growth in participation during the 20th century, according to the Credit Suisse Research Institute's Global Wealth Report 2018. After the increase in wealth among women at the end of the last century, however, there has been stagnation since the year 2000.
"While there is still a wealth disparity between men and women across the world – much more pronounced in some places than elsewhere – this inequality has declined significantly over the years and is expected to continue as more women have access to education and participate in the labor market, "said Nannette Hechler Fayd'herbe, Global Head of Investment Strategy & Research, in a statement.
The conclusions indicate that the representation of women – particularly women self made – has risen in the last five to 10 years at the top of the wealth spectrum. In addition, women's share in wealth has increased in Asia due to the rise of China, where women have a greater share of wealth than in the rest of the region.
"There is also evidence that more entrepreneurial women are succeeding in business and entering the upper reaches of wealth. However, even in countries where progress is most pronounced, the challenges remain. More needs to be done to ensure that women have equal opportunities to accumulate, inherit and participate in wealth, "he stressed.
In regional terms, studies in several European countries not only compare the wealth of single women and single men, but also examine the division of wealth within marriage. Analysis for France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom for the period 1996 to 2013 indicates that women held, on average, 43% of total wealth.
Compared to Europe, less is known about the general participation of women in the United States, because few studies for the country record the wealth division between husbands and wives. However, the wealth ratio for single women and men is available and is similar to that of Europe, the report explains.
For the rest of the world, recent studies for Africa and India indicate significantly lower female participation, ranging from 20% to 30%. The share of wealth in China is higher than in Africa or India, but below the level in Europe or North America.
According to Bloomberg's global lists, Forbes and Hurun consulted by Credit Suisse, women are well represented among China's many billionaires. Hurun even claims that two-thirds of the world's billionaire women are Chinese. "We believe the overall participation of adult women in China is between 30% and 40%," the report said.
On the other hand, the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China and India) is very heterogeneous. There are countries where the wealth situation of women is similar to that of India (eg Pakistan and Bangladesh), but other countries are more similar to China. Therefore, Credit Suisse estimates that the participation of women in the region between 25% and 35%.
Finally, studies in some Latin American countries indicate a small gender wealth gap, but for the region as a whole, women's participation is lower than that of Europe and North America. "We believe it is in the same range of 30% to 40% than China. The combination of these numbers puts women's share of global wealth in the range of 35-42 percent, or 40 percent in round numbers, "the institute adds.