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
     
 

ISBN-10: 0871545985

ISBN-13: 9780871545985

Pub. Date: 08/28/2007

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

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

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

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:
245
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(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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