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Gender inequality in divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | Divorce

One of the reasons a woman might divorce is to achieve more financial independence and equality. While some women already have that in their marriage, others certainly do not.

While divorce could help a woman with this goal achieve it, one study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests they will have to endure more inequality along the way.

Women’s income suffers more than men’s income after a divorce

The study suggests that a woman’s income will fall by around 40% on average in the first year after a divorce. A man’s by contrast will rise by 5% on average. Things are still unlikely to be equal five years later. On average, a woman’s household income would be at only 25% of when they were married while the man’s would be back at what it was during the marriage

There are several reasons for this. Women are more likely to have stepped back from their careers to run the household and raise children. This could leave them lower down the career ladder with a lower salary.  If they have been out of the labor market, they might need to spend time and money on education or retraining to be able to eventually earn an income on which they support themselves.

Women are also more likely to do the bulk of childcare after a divorce, leaving them less time to work and earn money. Then there is the all too real male-female pay gap that means even with the same skills and experience as a man, a woman may still earn less.

While every person and divorce is unique, it is worth bearing these figures in mind if divorcing. Learning what you can do to leave the marriage in as strong a financial position as possible is wise.