|Could this really be true?|
Her claim is that women do two thirds of the world's work but own only one per cent of the world's property.
That seems highly unlikely. A sociologist decided to investigate the statistic and found that it first appeared in the late 1970s. The feminist author who created the statistic, Krishna Ahooja-Patel, has admitted that she relied on "fragmentary indicators of the time" and that the 1% figure was based on the logic that if women were low paid they would not be able to accumulate property and therefore it was likely that women owned 1% or less of the world's property.
So the statistic is based, as the sociologist Philip Cohen puts it, not on hard data but on "a guess based on an extrapolation wrapped round an estimate."
Cohen also points out that it's difficult to measure precisely which sex owns property as wives often have a legal claim on the property accumulated by their husbands. What he does show is that American women alone earn over 5% of world income today.
And when feminists are in a more triumphant mood, they prefer to emphasise the economic clout of women in society. For instance, there is a Virginia Tech page celebrating female philanthropy which claims:
- women control nearly 60% of the wealth in the U.S.
- women represent more than 40% of Americans with gross investable assets above $600,000
- 45% of American millionaires are women
- Some estimate that by 2030, women will control as much as two-thirds of the nation’s wealth
Nor is the 1% of property claim the only rogue statistic still floating around; for another example see here.