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Center for Long-Term Care Reform Co-Director Martha Holstein Writes about Lack of Economic Security Among Older Women

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
February 2, 2012

In the Center for Long-Term Care Reform Co-Director Martha Holstein writes about the lack of economic security among older women.


Center for Long-Term Care Reform Co-Director Martha Holstein wrote an op-ed for the Center’s January Elder Economic Security Newsletter: “A Troubled Old Age: Women and Retirement Insecurity”


“Many years ago, Tish Sommers, the savvy co-founder of the Older Women’s League (now OWL), and one of my heroines, observed that “women are one man away from poverty.” For many women, especially women lower on the economic ladder, that observation remains painfully true. Across the income spectrum however, older women tend to be poorer than older men. 70% of the elderly poor are women. Blame that on women’s longer life expectancy though not necessarily better health, their shortened work histories and lower earnings when working, the kinds of jobs they have had (less likely to offer pension benefits or salaries that were adequate to permit savings), and the financial penalties of drop-out years to have and raise children or to care for older family members. As a result, “women’s median retirement income is 58% of men’s median retirement income” (Rappaport, 2008, p. 1). The now familiar phrase “the feminization of poverty,” introduced in the late 1970s, continues unabated not only in this country but around the world.” (Download and read entire op-ed article here.)


The Center for Long-Term Care Reform is the official state-partner of the Elder Economic Security Initiative™ (EESI) a program of Wider Opportunities for Women.  To learn more about EESI, visit our website  or contact Kristen Pavle, Associate Director, Center for Long-Term Care Reform.