Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sexism After Retirement

Many women who are retired, or soon to retire, are independent women who have spent years in the work force.  They have lead busy lives, and have earned their retirement.  Often they felt that they had been held back during their working years because of blatant sexism in the workforce.  In fact, in 2008, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that women continue to earn approximately 17% less than men in similar occupations.  Because their career is often interrupted during child rearing years, women tend to earn about 30% less than men over their lifetime.

The Retirement Effects of Lower Income for Women

The repercussions of earning less during their lifetime has a dramatic effect on the amount of retirement income they receive.  Because women earned less while they were working, they also receive lower Social Security benefits.  According to the Social Security Administration, in 2008 17% of single women over the age of 65 had an income that was below the poverty threshold of $10,326.  About 28% earned less than $12,907.

Other Types of Sexism After Retirement

A lower standard of living is not the only way that women are experiencing sexism after retirement.  After years of dealing with sexism in the workplace, many women are shocked to realize that they are still subject to social sexism after retirement.  A friend of mine, who lives here in our retirement community of Laguna Woods Village, told me about a recent incident of sexism she noticed in a club she and her husband had joined. When the club secretary resigned, the men in the club suggested that the women take turns being club secretary.  My friend said she was willing to take a turn, and do her fair share, but only if the men did, too.  She saw no reason why only the women should take over the many responsibilities of a club secretary.

Retirement was the one stage of our lives when most women did not expect to experience blatant sexism.  After all, since women tend to live longer than men, there are usually more women than men living in retirement communities.  Gradually, let's all hope the tide turns and retiring Baby Boomers will continue to promote more equitable financial and social status during the retirement years.

In researching this blog post, I was delighted to see this quote:  "You don't have to be anti-man to be pro-woman" -- Jane Galvin Lewis.  That is so true!  We all need to work together to promote a better society for everyone.

If you are interested in learning more about issues affecting your retirement, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, financial planning, medical issues and changing family relationships.

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  1. I think what these women are experiencing is simply men being a product of their times. I do not foresee that happening when my husband and I retire in another twenty years. These guys all did diaper duty and carpools!

    1. Mommyx3, I agree with you completely. Younger men have a much more reasonable attitude about these things. I'm fortunate because my husband and I raised four daughters, and they helped him have a more equal, balanced attitude about women's rights. Thanks for your comments.


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