Social Security Reform:

Implications for the Financial Well-Being of Women

T-HEHS-97-112: Published: Apr 10, 1997. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 1997.

Additional Materials:


Jane L. Ross
(202) 512-3000


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO discussed the impacts of proposals to finance and restructure the Social Security system, specifically the impacts on the financial well-being of women.

GAO noted that: (1) its work shows that, despite the provisions of the Social Security Act that do not differentiate between men and women, women tend to receive lower benefits than men; (2) this is due primarily to differences in lifetime earnings because women tend to have lower wages and fewer years in the workforce; (3) women's experience under pension plans also differs from men's not only because of earnings differences but also because of differences in investment behavior and longevity; (4) moreover, public and private pension plans do not offer the same social insurance protections that Social Security does; (5) furthermore, some of the provisions of the Social Security Advisory Council's three proposals may exacerbate the differences in men and women's benefits; (6) for example, proposals that call for individual retirement accounts will pay benefits that are affected by investment behavior and longevity; and (7) expected changes in women's labor force participation rates and increasing earnings will reduce but probably not eliminate these differences.

Oct 30, 2020

Sep 24, 2020

Aug 28, 2020

Aug 13, 2020

Jun 16, 2020

Feb 27, 2020

Jan 9, 2020

Dec 18, 2019

Oct 21, 2019

Looking for more? Browse all our products here