Social Security Reform: Implications for Women

John B. Williamson Sara E. Rix

WP#1999-7

Abstract

Despite recent economic gains for women, a substantial gender gap in financial security during old age remains, making women more dependent than men upon Social Security. This paper discusses the important role that Social Security plays in providing for women’s economic security. It also analyzes the implications for women of several proposed changes in Social Security policy, including the call for the partial privatization of Social Security via the introduction of individual accounts. Many of the proposals would have the effect of asking women, particularly low-income women, to shoulder a disproportionate share of the risks and burdens associated with the changes.