Social Security is critically important to women, and especially to women of color. Without it, about half of all women 65 and older would be poor. It also provides valuable disability and life insurance protections to workers and their families.

What’s at Stake Today

Women are overrepresented in poorly paid jobs. Women are typically paid less than men when they work full time—and pay gaps are even larger for women of color. Women are also more likely to work part time or take time out for caregiving. And the cumulative impact of a lifetime of disparities means that women’s risk of economic insecurity only increases in their older years. Social Security benefits are lifelong, inflation-adjusted, and virtually universal. They are especially important for women of color, who face extremely high poverty rates as they age. Social Security provides most of the income for women 65 and older and is the foundation for women’s retirement security. Social Security benefits are vital but modest, averaging $14,928 per year for older women (2019). They need to be protected and enhanced, not cut.

What Is NWLC Doing?

We highlight the importance of Social Security to women, and work to support proposals that will increase benefits and strengthen Social Security for generations to come. Ensuring that higher-income earners contribute their fair share would go a long way towards closing long-term funding gaps. And increasing the minimum benefit for very low-wage workers and crediting caregivers for time out of the workforce would especially benefit women.

But some lawmakers are supporting proposals that put Social Security at risk. Whether they’re talking about payroll tax cuts that threaten Social Security’s funding, means-testing benefits, or increasing the retirement age yet again, it all adds up to cuts to women’s benefits. So, we’re making it clear that women can’t afford cuts to Social Security.