According to research released Thursday (5-9), women are half as likely to receive employer-provided pensions, and men typically collect more than twice the amount of benefits that women receive. At a National Press Club luncheon for the Women’s Research and Education Institute, Labor Secretary Robert Reich called the situation the “glass ceiling of retirement security” and said the nation need to end “this de facto penalty on working mothers.” Reich said that nearly two out of three working women do not have pension plans. Women make up nearly half of the work force and number 24 million. More than half of retired men but less than one third of women receive pension benefits other than social security. Women are also only half as likely to be union members which would allow them to receive collectively bargained pension benefits.
According to the Institute’s report, women continue to bear most of the responsibility of caring for children, and the number of single, working mothers living in poverty is at an all-time high. Reich said, “Allowing the retirement security of women to diminish because they have taken responsibility for bearing and rearing their children is wrong for women, wrong for families and wrong for America.”