income in retirement

Women almost twice as likely as men to live in poverty during retirement

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day, which marked how far into the year the average American woman must work to earn what her male counterpart earned last year. The gender gap stands at 78 cents to the dollar and hasn’t narrowed in the last decade. As Maya highlighted, at this rate we won’t achieve pay equality until 2058. 

But the dizzying numbers only get worse, as the wage gap doesn’t end at the workplace. For too many women, the pay gap impacts quality of life well into retirement, where far more older women find themselves living below the poverty line.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.06.24 AM

Almost twice as many, to be exact.

An analysis of Census data shared by CNN last year showed that 11 percent of women ages 65 years and older live in poverty (nearly twice the 6.6 percent male poverty rate), relying on a median income of around $16,000 a year — roughly $11,000 less than men of the same age. Retirement security is, unsurprisingly, even more elusive for single women and women of color. Well over a third of women separated from their partners live below the poverty line. So do one-fifth of Black and Latina women — that number is 2.5 times their white counterparts. CNNMoney explains that the leading factors for this retirement income gap are the wage gap and the fact that women are two thirds of part-time employees and are more likely to take time off as caretakers.

If this isn’t a damning indictment of women’s economic security in this country, I’m not sure what is.

Mahroh is a community organizer and law student who believes in building a world where black and brown women and our communities are able to live free of violence. Prior to law school, Mahroh was the Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization empowering students to end gender violence and a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her research addresses the ways militarization, racism, and sexual violence impact communities of color transnationally.

Mahroh is currently at Harvard Law School, organizing against state and gender-based violence.

Read more about Mahroh

Join the Conversation