JWI strongly supports public policies that strengthen women’s economic security at all ages, with a particular focus on improving college affordability, combatting pay inequity and ensuring the long-term solvency of Social Security.

Despite great progress, women still face serious economic challenges at every stage of life. Specifically:

  • More young women are graduating from college than ever before and are taking on substantial student loans. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, two-thirds of college seniors who graduated in 2011 had student loan debt, with an average of $26,600 per borrower;1
  • Yet women experience a gender pay gap upon entering the workforce which affects their long-term earnings and ability to pass off student loan debt. According to a recent report by the American Association of University Women, just one year out of college, women already experience pay discrimination and on average earn 82 cents for every dollar paid to their male peers;2
  • As women continue to participate in the workforce, on average they will earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man;3
  • Finally, women serious obstacles during retirement. Women on average live longer than men yet the average annual Social income received by women 65 years and older in 2011 was approximately $12,000, compared an average man’s benefits, which are approximately $16,000.4

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1 Student Debt and the Class of 2011.” Institute for College Access and Success.
2The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap.” American Association of University Women.
3Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation.” American Association of University Women.
4Social Security is Important to Women.” Social Security Administration.

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