Four older women

Report: Recommendations to support older women in the labor force

Center for American Progress report: Promoting Economic Advancement for Older Women in the Workplace

A new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) says a woman’s experience in the labor force continues to vary significantly from a man’s experience. With 42% of growth in the labor force over the next decade expected to come from people ages 55 or older, and with most of the growth coming from women, CAP says we need to be more proactive in creating a more equitable experience.

Promoting Economic Advancement for Older Women in the Workplace finds that not only are “older women five times more likely than men to have caregiving responsibilities affect their employment status, but women’s wages stagnate earlier in life than men’s. On top of women’s wages stagnating earlier in life, more than one in three older women ages 55 and older earn low wages.

“For older Black women, four in ten earn low wages, and older Hispanic women 52% earn low wages.  These lower earnings and stagnating wages translate into lower Social Security benefits and less ability to save for retirement, and it puts women at higher risk of poverty in old age.”

CAP says that as the U.S. economy’s reliance on older women workers grows in the coming years, there are at least three ways to the economic advancement of older women, including:

  • strengthening age discrimination protections,
  • improving and supporting workforce development efforts,
  • and raising the federal minimum wage.

“Older women’s economic prospects should not be constrained by an arbitrary expiration date. Policymakers must take action to strengthen protections against age discrimination, modernize workforce training programs, and raise the minimum wage so that older women can continue to grow and advance in the U.S. economy,” says Beth Almeida, senior fellow at CAP and co-author of the report.

“As our reliance on older women’s participation in the labor force grows, we must ensure that they have the tools and protections to thrive in the economy. Investing in workforce training programs, raising the minimum wage, and strengthening protections for older workers are crucial steps to promoting the advancement of older women in our economy now and for years to come,” adds Christian Weller, senior fellow at CAP and co-author of the report. 

You can read the full report here: Promoting Economic Advancement for Older Women in the Workplace
You can read Beth Almeida’s OpEd for WorkingNation here: Career mobility should not come with an expiration date for older women