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Gender pay gap impacts women’s retirement savings, too


The average working woman in America earns 82 cents for every dollar a man earns.

That’s according to a new report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that promotes equity and education for women and girls.

The typical female worker earns earns $45,097 annually, according to US Census data cited by AAUW, while the typical man makes $55,291. And the gap is even wider for women of color. This pay disparity affects women at every stage of their career, but naturally, it doesn’t end there.

AAUW found that the gender pay gap persists — and in fact, widens precipitously — long after leaving the workforce. The typical woman’s total retirement income equals just 70% of the typical man’s. That includes Social Security benefits, pension plans, savings, and any other source of income.

Many Americans’ largest source of retirement income is Social Security, and the shortfall for women is stark. Women over 65 collect only 80% of the typical man’s Social Security benefit, or roughly $307 less.

Social Security benefits are based on a person’s 35 highest-earning years or, if they’re married, up to 50% of their spouse’s benefit, whichever is greater. Despite women representing the sole or co-breadwinner in roughly two-thirds of US households, women earn less than men throughout their careers and as a result pay less into Social Security, the report states.

But it’s not only Social Security where women are coming up short. According to a Bank of America survey of workplace retirement plan participants, the median retirement savings among men is $100,000. For women, it’s just $30,000.

Meanwhile, women with pensions only collect 76% of the benefit men do. While pensions are becoming a less popular employee benefit on the whole, companies in the insurance and healthcare industries are still likely to offer them. Incidentally, female workers experience the largest pay gap in jobs related to business and financial operations, management, and personal care and service, according to data from the US Census shared by AAUW.

“The gender pay gap leaves women economically insecure at a most vulnerable time in life,” Kim Churches, CEO of AAUW, said in a press release. “A wage gap is unacceptable at any stage of life, but in retirement, it feels particularly egregious. We need to double down on our efforts to close that gap to ensure that women can be as economically secure as their male counterparts, no matter what their age.”



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