Women, Aging & Poverty ~ a Disturbing Reality

Women, Aging & Poverty ~ a Disturbing Reality

Did you know that 1 in 5 seniors in California lives in poverty? And women, particularly women of color are disproportionally affected due to a number of factors including a lifetime of unequal pay, higher health care expenses, the fact that they live longer than men, their lower retirement income, and years of caregiving responsibilities. At a state conference on Women, Aging and Poverty earlier this year, California State Senator Kevin de Leon rightly pointed out that “66% of seniors in poverty are women, women who cared for us, clothed us, housed us…it is immoral…we must do more.”

One of the action steps to “do more” is the publication of a recent report: Aging, Women and Poverty in California: We Must Do More written in collaboration by the California Commission on Aging, the California Women’s Law Center, Justice in Aging and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. The report lays out why older women are more likely to live in poverty, its impact on their lives, and actions policymakers can take to ensure older women’s dignity in their “golden years”.

Please read and share this report and its recommendations. With the new Administration and Congress members coming into office this January, it’s imperative our policymakers hear the stories and plight of our seniors, especially elder women and elder women of color, and take policy actions to preserve and expand the programs that reduce and prevent elder poverty.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.