Women's Pension Project
The Pension Rights Center’s Women’s Pension Project focuses on preventing poverty among older women by eliminating inequities in the nation’s pension programs that uniquely affect working women, widows, and divorced women.
Because they generally live longer, earn less, and spend less time in the workforce than men, women are particularly vulnerable to unfair pension policies. Without income from pensions to supplement Social Security, women are much more likely than men to retire into poverty. According to the Congressional Research Service, older women living alone are among the poorest demographic groups in the nation.
Take a look at these statistics and you’ll see why the work of the Women’s Pension Project is so important.
- Women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men (U.S. Census Bureau). The lower one’s earnings are, the less a woman is able to save in a 401(k) and the less she will earn in a traditional pension.
- More women than men live in poverty. Among Americans age 65 and older, 12.1 percent of women live in poverty while only 7.4 percent of men do (U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey).
- Older women have lower household incomes than men. In 2014, the median household income for women age 65 and older was $23,820, but $32,241 for men (U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey).
- Older women have a lower median annual income than men. For women age 65 and older, the median annual income is $17,375. For men it is $31,169. (U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey).
- Women spend more time out of the workforce than men. For every age group studied, fewer women are employed than men (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey).
Read our fact sheets on spousal benefits and divorce.
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Did You Know?
A lump-sum distribution is a method of paying benefits from a pension plan in which a participant's entire beenfit is paid out in a one-time payment. Lump sum distributions are sometimes called cash outs.