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The Gender Impact of Social Security Reform$
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Estelle James, Alejandra Edwards, and Rebeca Wong

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226392004

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226392028.001.0001

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Why Do Social Security Systems and Social Security Reforms Have a Gender Impact?

Why Do Social Security Systems and Social Security Reforms Have a Gender Impact?

(p.9) Chapter One Why Do Social Security Systems and Social Security Reforms Have a Gender Impact?
The Gender Impact of Social Security Reform

Estelle James

Alejandra Cox Edwards

Rebeca Wong

University of Chicago Press

Most public pension programs—both the traditional defined benefit and the newer multipillar plans—are contributory; that is, they are financed by payroll taxes, and they pay out benefits the amount of which depends on wage history, years of work, or, more directly, on contributions. Contributory schemes pose a problem for women, who are likely to have worked and contributed for fewer years; have earned lower wages when working; and outlive their husbands, who provide the family's monetary income. As a result of these socioeconomic and demographic differences, the same pension policy may have different effects on men and women, and pension reform can have important gender effects. Moreover, social security systems often include rules that explicitly differentiate between men and women. This chapter reviews these labor market and demographic differences and the issues they raise for pension policy.

Keywords:   public pension programs, social security systems, contributoary schemes, women, pension policy, pension reform, gender

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