Market Friendly or Family Friendly?: The State and Gender Inequality in Old Age / Edition 1

Market Friendly or Family Friendly?: The State and Gender Inequality in Old Age / Edition 1

by Madonna Harrington Meyer, Pamela Herd
     
 

Poverty among the elderly is sharply gendered—women over sixty-five are twice as likely as men to live below the poverty line. Older women receive smaller Social Security payments and are less likely to have private pensions. They are twice as likely as men to need a caregiver and twice as likely as men to be a caregiver. Recent efforts of some in Washington

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Overview

Poverty among the elderly is sharply gendered—women over sixty-five are twice as likely as men to live below the poverty line. Older women receive smaller Social Security payments and are less likely to have private pensions. They are twice as likely as men to need a caregiver and twice as likely as men to be a caregiver. Recent efforts of some in Washington to reduce and privatize social welfare programs threaten to exacerbate existing gender disparities among older Americans. They also threaten to exacerbate inequality among women by race, class, and marital status. Madonna Harrington Meyer and Pamela Herd explain these disparities and assess how proposed policy reforms would affect inequality among the aged.

Market Friendly or Family Friendly? documents the cumulative disadvantages that make it so difficult for women to achieve economic and health security when they retire. Wage discrimination and occupational segregation reduce women’s lifetime earnings, depressing their savings and Social Security benefits. While more women are employed today than a generation ago, they continue to shoulder a greater share of the care burden for children, the disabled, and the elderly. Moreover, as marriage rates have declined, more working mothers are raising children single-handedly. Women face higher rates of health problems due to their lower earnings and the high demands associated with unpaid care work. There are also financial consequences to these family and work patterns.

Harrington Meyer and Herd contrast the impact of market friendly programs that maximize individual choice, risk, and responsibility with family friendly programs aimed at redistributing risks and resources. They evaluate popular policies on the current agenda, considering the implications for inequality. But they also evaluate less discussed policy proposals. In particular, minimum benefits for Social Security, as well as credits for raising children, would improve economic security for all, regardless of marital status. National health insurance would also reduce inequality, as would reforms to Medicare, particularly increased coverage of long term care. Just as important are policies such as universal preschool and paid family leave aimed at reducing the disadvantages women face during their working years.

The gender gaps that women experience during their work and family lives culminate in income and health disparities between men and women during retirement, but the problem has received scant attention. Market Friendly or Family Friendly? is a comprehensive introduction to this issue, and a significant contribution to the debate over the future of America’s entitlement programs.

A Volume in the American Sociological Association’s Rose Series in Sociology

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780871545985
Publisher:
Russell Sage Foundation
Publication date:
08/28/2007
Series:
American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents


Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Disappearing Problems? Gender Inequality in Old Age
Gender Inequality
Inequality Linked to Race, Class and Marital Status
Responding to Inequality
Overview of Book

Chapter 2 Market Friendly or Family Friendly?
The Role of the State
Market Friendly Welfare Policies
Family Friendly Welfare Policies
Welfare State Debates
Flat versus Redistributive
Targeted versus Universal
Gender Neutral versus Gender Accommodative
Impact of Privatization on Welfare State Debates
The Role of the State in Old Age Inequality
Chapter 3 Accumulating Inequality at Work and at Home
Inequality in the Labor Force
The Wage Gap
The Mommy Gap
Inequality among Women in the Labor Force
Inequality among Women in Paid Care Work
Inequality in Families
The Distribution of Unpaid Care Work
Inequality among Women in Unpaid Care Work
Changing Families
Discussion

Chapter 4 The Business of Retirement
Social Security
Program Expansions and Contradictions
Social Security¿s Shortcomings
Inequality among Women
Supplemental Security Income
Private Pensions
Private Pensions and Marital Status
Inequality among Women
Asset Income
Inequality among Women
Discussion

Chapter 5 The Business of Health
Gender, Race, Class and Health Inequality
Health Differences between Women and Men
Health Differences among Women
Explaining Health Differences
Gender, Race and Class Differences in Health Care
Reliance on Employer-Based Health Insurance
Medicare
Medigap Supplemental Insurance
Medicaid
Private Long Term Care Insurance
Shifting the Burden
Discussion

Chapter 6 Market Friendly Proposals: Entrenching Inequality
Fixing or Shrinking Social Security
Attacks on Entitlement
Preserving Entitlement
Privatizing Social Security?
Social Security and Older Women
Who Benefits from Privatization?
The Business of Health Care
Medicare Cost Containment
Privatization and Redistribution
Discussion
Chapter 7 Family Friendly Proposals: Entrenching Equality
A New Social Security Reform Agenda
Care Credits
Minimum Benefits
A Combination
The Best Solution for Reducing Income Inequality in Old Age
A New Health Agenda
Can We Afford a Single Payer System?
Solutions for Medicare
The Best Solution for Reducing Health Inequality in Old Age
An Early Life Course Reform Agenda
Universal Day Care
Paid Family Leave
Other Early Life Course Programs
Discussion
NOTES
REFERENCES
Index

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