Gender disparity in income & wealth

Didn’t want to open a new topic for some banter.


:grin: Nice CAGR!


Mackenzie Bezos found a contender. It’s kind of ironic that some of the richest women in the World got their wealth through marriage & divorce :smirk:

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I feel a bit sexist posting it, but the fact is: 10/10 (11/11?) either by divorce or inheritance.

Continuing the business to run successfully is nothing to be sniffed at though.

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For CAGR-correctness sake, Melinda & Bill first met in 1987, when Bill had just become a billionaire.

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if you want to feel better you can say something like, behind every great man there is a great woman :slight_smile:


Off topic:

I actually got surprised by this fact as well a couple of days ago.
I found three possible explanations.

  1. Women have only been able to suceed in such a way for a couple of years/decades, so it might still be a bit of a “man’s game”.
  2. Most new multi-billionaires made their wealth in tech fields, which are dominated by men.
  3. Men might have a higher variability in traits that lead to extreme wealth. So women could be better entrepeneurs on average but the extremely succesfull entrepeneurs would still be males.
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As a dad to girls I see gender stereotyping and bias in the system everywhere. At a young age girls think they are less capable than boys and have less confidence as a result. This does not lend itself to being an entrepreneur. There are studies, girls just have a much tougher time getting ahead in general.


You mean here in Switzerland? This is definitely not the case in Poland, where girls have on average better grades all the way through school and I had many such friends and I did not notice any bad treatment of girls.

But I would be not surprised if women were indeed in some way disadvantaged by the system, in some countries at least. But it’s a topic for another discussion.

This might be a result of being disadvantaged, but it also may be a result of genetic predisposition. That’s what Jordan Peterson is on about, and it’s what feminists hate him for. Women are often not motivated by things that are required to become a billionaire. There is a greater concentration of male geniuses than female geniuses at the end of the bell curve.

And one final thing to touch upon. No problem if a woman inherited the fortune after her husband’s/father’s death. But inheriting billions as a result of a divorce seems highly undeserved to me. It’s weird that so many of these divorced billionaires did not sign any prenup agreements. I know, being a “housewife”, not being able to pursue your dreams, not seeing your husband because he works his ass off, it comes at a price. But IMO it’s not worth billions, not the half or even a quarter of his entire business.

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Why? Would the people who succeed have been as successful without being supported by their partner? (plus definitely it’s an engagement where people go into knowing what to expect, it’s a partnership where you decide you’re willing to pool your interests and work together for the longer term).

Taking Gates as an example, isn’t Melinda credited for pushing him out and focus on other things? Had he stayed around, would MSFT have been able to do such a turnaround? (Isn’t half their wealth gained post MSFT, but he might still have benefit largely from stock growth for a while).

(not going to comment on the claim that women are predisposed to be less successful, esp. when you still see everyday sexism everywhere, as the thread demonstrates)


If you want to insult me, why not do it directly? I find it appalling that nowadays you cannot comment on some research or data without being called sexist. If I say men are on average stronger than women, will you also call me sexist? I’m sorry but this is absurd.

I’m referring to an example mentioned by Peterson, where in Scandinavia a lot of effort is put to treat both sexes equally. But paradoxically, these countries produce the largest gender disparities in many professions.

Where are the largest differences? Men are less agreeable (more competitive, harsher, tough-minded, skeptical, unsympathetic, critically-minded, independent, stubborn). Women are higher in negative emotion, or neuroticism. They experience more anxiety, emotional pain, frustration, grief, self-conscious doubt and disappointment.

The differences matter, particularly at the extremes, particularly with regard to occupational choice and its concomitants. There are going to be more male criminals, and more male engineers, and more females with diagnoses of depression and anxiety, and more female nurses. And there are going to be differences in economic outcome associated with this variance.


I think this thankfully changing fast, at least in secondary and tertiary education in Switzerland. Both law students and pharma-medicine students are now predominantly female. These are high-status and well-paid careers. The percentage of women in natural and technical sciences has almost doubled in the last 30 years.

Whatever gender stereotyping still exists doesn’t seem to strongly deter women from choosing their preferred career anymore.

(Source: Studierende an den universitären Hochschulen: Basistabellen - 1990-2020 | Tabelle | Bundesamt für Statistik (

Had to split the discussion after too many posts. To be clear: I know there are many smart and successful women out there and I’m not claiming otherwise. I just find the arguments raised by Peterson compelling. It feels awful to be insulted on the base of quoting some research (and not even my own opinion).

I don’t want to go into that discussion, but I just want to say that sexism exists and hopefully is waning. An interesting place to study it is indeed the pharmaceutical studies, where it seems that the majority is female. There you can find sexism on the other direction. (I’ve heard that, not sure if it’s 100% true but I think it’s plausible).

yes I’d much prefer a world where women were equally represented in the list of richest company owners/ bosses :slight_smile:

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made a small correction here :laughing: :innocent:

Well-married or well-born, yeah life can be unfair

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Well, if we believe in private property, then the owner of that property should be able to have full discretion on what he/she does with it. And if they decide to give it to their kids, can we blame them? We can argue if access to capital gives an advantage and should be taxed. But taxing inheritance, I don’t know. Seems too easy to bypass. By the way, some studies have shown that there is a great generational mobility of billionaires in the US. Heirs usually are not able to do as well as their parents and vast fortunes evaporate over decades.

Agree with you, I was cynical

I just would like to hear the same indignation/outrage when a person (man) inherits a business or a fortune from its family as when a person (woman) gets money from a divorce

I somehow feel generally more aggressivity when a woman divorces a rich man vs. inheritance, although it is the same principle : family

No, not just in Switzerland. In most countries girls get better grades at school and are under-represented at senior management levels in companies.

I am not going to pretend that I know all the reasons for this however as a husband and father I see subtle but important biases that women have to overcome that I never did. It does not need overt “bad treatment”.

For example males treating females differently in meetings without even realising; or perhaps due to economic pressure a woman isn’t promoted because she might get pregnant and have to work a reduced schedule. Then there are the jokes meant innocently but that put women in their place


It’s basically the Damore Memo argument, which has been heavily discussed at the time: James Damore’s Google Memo Gets Science All Wrong | WIRED

And to give some context, some interview from Peterson, if you’re curious about his views, might want to use incognito when searching/watching yt, it probably quickly rabbit holes into specific topics. I think at this point he’s more of a yt guru than a scientist:

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Personally, I think it’s a mixture of (mainly) these three factors. In western societies.

I find it very plausible. You don’t have to negate sexism to believe in the plausibility of the variability hypothesis (or observe evidence thereof in everyday life) - or differences in cultural upbringing.

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