How Social Security Reform Affects Women

Women want lawmakers to strengthen the existing Social Security program, but most do not want fundamental changes to the system.

In addition, the majority of women do not support efforts to privatize the system by allowing people to transfer a portion of their Social Security to a private account or any reform that would cut or endanger guaranteed benefits.

These are some of the key findings of a recent poll of 750 women voters conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. for the AFL-CIO and the National Partnership for Women & Families.

"There is broad, deep opposition among women to any reforms that would weaken Social Security and undermine their retirement security," said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. "Women want lawmakers to ensure that they will get the benefits they are paying for-not privatize the system."

The poll also found that when told that private accounts would reduce Social Security's guaranteed monthly benefit, women's support for privatization drops to just 33 percent.

According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, women are already disadvantaged in retirement because they:

• Live longer than men

• Earn less than men

• Often hold low-wage jobs

• Have shorter work histories due to caregiving responsibilities

• Are less likely to work in jobs that offer pension plans

• Are less likely to have the resources needed to save for retirement or invest in defined contribution plans

• Are more likely to deplete their resources caring for a spouse

• Are more likely than men to live in poverty and rely solely on Social Security in old age.

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care, and policies that help Americans balance work and family responsibilities.

It recently announced a drive to protect women's interests in the Social Security debate. The initiative would include providing women with information and tools to help them engage in the debate and communicate with their members of Congress.

For more information, visit

According to a recent poll, the majority of women would not support any Social Security reform that would cut guaranteed benefits.

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