The Blog of the Frances Perkins Center

Posts Tagged ‘Lynn Parramore’

Who will speak for women?

In Political world on March 28, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Here’s a shout out to Lynn Parramore of New Deal 2.0, whose Saturday post, Our Grandmothers, Ourselves: Social Security Under Fire, eloquently spoke to a matter of concern regarding the president’s Fiscal Commission:

Amid the myths and fear-mongering, women have a particular reason to be on high alert. We rely on Social Security more than men, but are getting sidelined in decision-making.

Obama’s Fiscal Commission has been created to propose ways to reduce the current deficit, including possible cuts to Social Security. But there is only one woman among his five appointees, Alice Rivlin. And there is only one woman, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, among all the other appointments made by McConnell, Reid, Boehner, and Pelosi. Two women out of 18 appointees? That’s 11 percent. It’s an outrage, considering that women represent 57 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries age 62 and older, and 69 percent of beneficiaries age 85 and older.

Why aren’t women invited to the table when our economic security is being decided?

Women’s participation in the workforce has skyrocketed since the 1950s, but it seems to have settled at around 70 percent for married women of working age (higher for single women), still far below the rates for working age men (over 90 percent). The incontrovertible fact is that women alone have babies, and they still bear the primary burden of childcare. Most women still leave the workforce after having children for at least a short time, and many leave for years. This means that women usually get lower Social Security benefits than they would have received if they had worked steadily, as most men do. And yet we live longer, and often have special burdens caring for children and grandchildren.

The lack of women on the Fiscal Commission is particularly insulting given that it was a woman who worked tirelessly to bring us Social Security in the first place. It was Frances Perkins, President Roosevelt’s indomitable Secretary of Labor, who was responsible for encouraging FDR to include Social Security as part of the New Deal and benefit us all with one of the greatest pieces of social reform in American history. We can’t allow deficit hawks and Wall Street greed to shred the critical social safety net that this inspirational woman, often called “FDR’s conscience,” managed to weave amid fear-mongering just as fierce in her day as it is in ours. Obama, are you listening?

Congress, are you listening? Country, are you listening?

Panel Discussion from Jan. 14: “Strengthening Social Security in the 21st Century”

In Events, Legislation Today on February 3, 2010 at 9:49 am
Panel 2: Strengthening Social Security in the 21st Century

Please click on the image to open the video. Then look for the "play" arrow to start the video.

From our January 14th event in New York City, the 2nd panel and wrap-up comments.

“Strengthening Social Security in the 21st Century”
Moderator: Professor Susan Feiner of the University of Southern Maine and member of the Frances Perkins Center board.

Panelists: Nancy Altman, author of The Battle for Social Security; Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, CEO of the Global Policy Solutions and co-editor of Strengthening Community: Social Insurance in a Diverse America; and Professor Eric Kingson from Syracuse University, and co-editor of Social Security in the 21st Century.

Closing comments are by Dr. Lynn Parramore of the Roosevelt Institute and editor of New Deal 2.0.