The National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) urged President Bush to listen to women’s concerns about privatizing social security in a press conference held yesterday. The NCWO, representing over 200 women’s organizations with over 10 million members, including the Feminist Majority, opposes the privatization of Social Security and is concerned that Social Security’s features such as survivors’ and disability benefits are being ignored in the current debate.
Women’s groups argue that privatization will put many of Social Security’s most women-friendly features at risk. “Because women rely on Social Security more and benefit from its special protections for women, women have more at risk from Social Security privatization,” said Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and co-chair of the NCWO Task Force on Social Security.
“President Bush’s support for individual accounts carved out of Social Security jeopardizes the guarantee of lifetime, inflation-adjusted benefits that Social Security now provides,” said Martha Burk, Ph.D., Chair of NCWO. “The American public does not want benefit cuts and massive deficits in exchange for private accounts that may not yield higher returns in retirement.”
Kim Gandy, National Organization for Women president, said, “If you’re a woman, you’re being asked to take your money out of a system that offers guaranteed retirement, disability and survivor benefits, and move it into a privatized system that will discriminate against you in the amount it pays out because you are female. Women weren’t born Democrat, Republican or yesterday.”
“All workers will face cuts in guaranteed benefits and most will not have that income made up by an individual account,” added Hartmann. “Social Security provides women with life insurance, disability income, and spousal benefits and all of these will be at risk if privatizers have their way.”