Equal Pay and Economic Security

Today is Equal Pay Day. Advocates around the country are raising the voices of women and fighting against the brutal reality that women still earn only 78 cents of every dollar earned by men. This alone sounds atrocious – imagine what that means over a woman’s lifetime and into her retirement!

According to the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee report, Large Gender Pay Gap for Older Workers Threatens Economic Security of Older Women, “in 2009, full-time working women 50 and older earned only three-fourths of what full-time working men the same age earned.”  In addition, WOW’s research shows that 49 percent of retired women ages 65 and older versus 40% of retired men in the same cohort experience economic insecurity. This suggests that the pay gap during working years translates to economic security during retirement. As a mature female worker, it makes me worry about having enough saved for retirement.

The AAUW’s report, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, states that white women were paid 78 percent of what white men are paid, African American women were paid 64 percent of what white men were paid and Hispanic and Latina women  were paid 54 percent of what white men.  Earning lower pay throughout one’s career affects not only salary, but your Social Security and retirement income. There is less money to pay for food and other household expenses including education, childcare and retirement savings. As a retiree, your fixed income will be smaller, Social Security will be less and investments fewer and of lower value. Women’s longer life expectancies also result in an increased chance of prematurely depleting all finances, outliving retirement savings and being unable to be economically secure and age with dignity.

Unequal pay during working years affects all women –especially minority women– and their families and can lead to elder economic insecurity during their retirement years. Equal and fair pay eliminates wage disparities and helps reduce poverty rates. Equal Pay + Fair Pay = A Strong Economy.  

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