Planning, saving, investing for and living in retirement isn’t easy for many Americans. But it’s especially difficult for women, according to a new report published by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS).
The number of women filing to run in U.S. Senate and House seats this year isn't even a record, according to the Center for American Women in Politics. And even if it were a record, it'd be by a few seats here or there. Women make up slightly less than 20 percent of Congress. That's more than double the 10 percent from a decade ago, but is still nowhere near the 50 percent ratio that mirrors our population at large.
There are some hopeful signs that the gender gap in retirement security could shrink in the years ahead. Women are working longer, and their participation rate in workplace retirement plans is rising. And more women are boosting their Social Security income by delaying their claim of benefits.
About 40 percent of unmarried women have saved less than $1,000, according to the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefits Research Institute and Greenwald and Associates. That's significantly higher than the 34 percent of unmarried men, 22 percent of married women, and 12 percent of married men with a similar, meager amount in savings and investments.
Women raising kids face a higher degree of difficulty in putting money away, and they also face steeper costs in retirement. So it’s no surprise that nearly half of women raising kids are “not too confident” or “not at all confident” about retirement.
Mass movements start in the streets, marching to the steps of city halls and statehouses to speak truth to power. They open up debates, forcing elected officials to think anew and respond to demands for racial and economic justice, immigrant rights, fair elections, real democracy, and peace. Eventually, however, those who are making the demands realize that they can and should be setting the policies. That sentiment is expressed in presidential politics by Bernie Sanders’s talk of a transformative political revolution. And in congressional districts across the country, some of America’s most ardent activists and deepest thinkers are entering the fray.
This Friday is the anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a reminder that a significant pay gap still exists between men and women in the United States. At the median, hourly pay for women is only 82.9 percent of men’s median wage ($15.21 versus $18.35). While over the last several decades women have made gains in terms of education attainment and labor force participation, compared to men, they are still paid less, are more likely to hold low wage jobs, and are more likely to live in poverty. This economic gap exists to a greater degree for women of color and remains persistent across women of varying education levels and working in different occupations.
NPR story on women in poverty.
Read Dr. Dodd's testimony to Senate Finance Committee
“I am fifty years old and the 27 years I have been working have been a combination of full-time and part-time employment, with several years of no employment so that I could stay home with my baby. I am back to work full-time now but want to know how all of this will affect my Social Security benefit when I am retired?”
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