Growing up with my four sisters, I saw my parents struggle with their laundry and dry-cleaning
Despite a stubborn pay disparity
and an often unbreakable glass ceiling, women are driving the world’s
economy. Women control 70 percent of global consumer spending, and 75
percent of women identify themselves as the primary shoppers for their
households. A record 40 percent of American households now have women
serving as the primary or sole breadwinners. How can women harness this
consumer spending power and use it to attain financial security,
especially when it is needed most, in retirement?
The majority of American women are facing a retirement security
crisis. Women on average save about 7 percent of pay. Of lower-income
retirees in California, 70 percent are women. Women age 65 and older
living in poverty outnumber men by more than two to one. Adding to the
money crunch, women at age 65 are expected to live another 19 years –
three years longer than men. Single women face a greater hurdle without
the added financial support of a dual-income household to pay living
expenses and the cost of raising children. These sobering statistics
should come as no surprise because retirement benefits are based on the
accumulation of lifetime earnings.
The gender pay gap in California stands at 84 percent.
A new report found that rather than the gradual improvement we have
seen in the past, the gender pay gap is widening. Another reason for the
disparity: more women are employed part-time and
work for smaller employers less likely to offer pensions or
employer-sponsored retirement plans. Closing the pay gap would not only
help fund women’s retirement but would increase pay into Social
Security, potentially ensuring everyone’s retirement security in the
long run. ...