Women Over 50 pp 164-181 | Cite as

Work and Retirement: Challenges and Opportunities for Women Over 50

  • Judith A. Sugar


For most people the word work conjures up an image of someone employed in a job for which pay is received. Yet, much of the work that women do is unpaid, and, consequently, it is neither recognized nor defined as work. Ignoring women’s unpaid labor has detrimental effects on their financial well-being while they are in the labor force and later for their retirement prospects. The psychological, social, and emotional toll of ignoring women’s unpaid work is largely unexamined. Furthermore, women face cumulative discrimination in the workplace that begins at their entry into the labor force, continues in their wages and promotions throughout their employment, and then affects their financial resources and benefits in retirement.


Social Security Private Pension Retirement Plan Mandatory Retirement Cyclic Life Pattern 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. AARP. (2002). Staying Ahead of the Curve: The AARP Work and Career Study. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. AARP. (2003a). Staying Ahead of the Curve 2003: The AARP Working in Retirement Study. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. AARP. (2003b). Boomers at Midlife. The AARP Life Stage Study, Wave 2. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  4. AARP. (2005a, March). Attitudes of Individuals 50 and Older Toward Phased Retirement. Online poll of 2,167 workers over 50. Retrieved March, 2006 from Scholar
  5. AARP. (2005b, May 23). Monster and AARP Announce Alliance to Help 50$+$ Workers. Retrieved February, 2006 from Scholar
  6. Adams, R.G. (1994). Older men's friendship patterns. In E.H. Thompson, Jr. (Ed.), Older Men's Lives (pp. 159–177). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Altschuler, J. (2004). Beyond money and survival: The meaning of paid work among older women. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 58, 223–239.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. American Benefits Council. (2004). Pensions at the Precipice: The Multiple Threats Facing Our Nation's Defined Benefit Pension System. Washington, DC: Author. Available at Scholar
  9. Babcock, L., and Laschever, S. (2003). Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Brontë, L. (1995). The Longevity Factor: The New Reality of Long Careers and how it Can Lead to Richer Lives. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  11. Chronicle of Higher Education. (2006, August 26). Almanac issue 2005–6.Google Scholar
  12. Costello, C.B., and Stone, A.J. (Eds.). (2001). The American Woman 2001–2002: Getting to the Top. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  13. Coyle, J.M. (Ed.). (2001). Handbook on Women and Aging. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  14. Crose, R. (1997). Why Women Live Longer than Men, ldots and What Men Can Learn from Them. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  15. Dychtwald, K. (1999). Age Power: How the 21st Century Will Be Ruled by the New Old. New York: Penguin Putnam.Google Scholar
  16. Friedan, B. (1994, March 20). Quoted in Parade Magazine. Retrieved May 2006 from Scholar
  17. Friedmann, E., and Havighurst, R.I. (1954). The Meaning of Work and Retirement. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hall, P. (2002). The Bonus Years: Women and Retirement. New York: Miranda Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hewlett, S.A., and Luce, C.B. (2005, March). Off-ramps and on-ramps. Keeping talented women on the road to success. Harvard Business Review, pp. 43–54.Google Scholar
  20. Hooyman, N.R., and Rubinstein, R.L. (1997). Is aging more problematic for women than men? In A.E. Scharlach and L.W. Kaye (Eds.), Controversial Issues in Aging (pp. 125–135). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  21. Hussar, W.J. (2005). Projections of Education Statistics to 2014 (NCES 2005-074). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available through Scholar
  22. Johnson, R.W., and Schaner, S.G. (2005, September). Value of unpaid activities by older Americans tops $160 billion per year. Perspectives on Productive Aging, Number 4. Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Available at Scholar
  23. Katz, S. (2000). Reflections on the gerontological handbook. In T.R. Cole, R. Kastenbaum, and R.E. Ray (Eds.), Handbook for the Humanities and Aging (2nd ed., pp. 405–418). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  24. McAuley, W.J. (2000). Defining the field of gerontology through introductory texts. Gerontologist, 40, 242–246.Google Scholar
  25. Mellor, M.J., and Rehr, H. (Eds.). (2005). Baby Boomers. Can My Eighties Be Like my Fifties? New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  26. Moen, P. (2003). Midcourse. Reconfiguring careers and community service for a new life stage. Contemporary Gerontology, 9, 87–94.Google Scholar
  27. Moen, P., and Roehling, P. (2005). The Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream. Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  28. Onyx, J., and Benton, P. (1996). Retirement: A problematic concept for older women. Journal of Women and Aging, 8, 19–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Purcell, P.J. (2000, October). Older workers: Employment and retirement trends. Monthly Labor Review, pp. 19–30.Google Scholar
  30. Riggs, K.E. (2004). Granny@work: Aging and New Technology on the Job in America. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Robertson, A. (2000). “I saw the handwriting on the wall”: Shades of meaning in reasons for early retirement. Journal of Aging Studies, 14, 63–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Roosevelt, F.D. (1935, August 14). Presidential Statement on Signing the Social Security Act. Available at Scholar
  33. Rose, S., and Danner, M.J. (1998). Money matters: The art of negotiation for women faculty. In L.H. Collins, J.C. Chrisler, and K. Quina (Eds.), Arming Athena: Career Strategies for Women in Academe (pp. 157–186). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Scott-Maxwell, F. (1968). The Measure of My Days. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  35. Stone, R., Cafferata, G.L., and Sangl, J. (1987). Caregivers of the frail elderly: A national profile. Gerontologist, 27, 616–626.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Sugar, J.A., Anstee, J.L.K., Desrochers, S., and Jambor, E.E. (2002). Gender biases in gerontological education: The status of older women. Gerontology & Geriatrics Education, 22, 43–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2005a). Employment Status of the Civilian Noninstitutional Population by Age, Sex, and Race. [Household data Table 3]. Available at Scholar
  38. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2005b). Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. [Table 18. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers by detailed occupation and sex, 2004 annual averages.] Available at Scholar
  39. U.S. Census Bureau. (2002). Current Population Survey. Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Available at Scholar
  40. U.S. Census Bureau. (2004). Current Population Survey. Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Available at Scholar
  41. U.S. Census Bureau. (2005). Annual Estimates of the Population by Age and Sex for the United States. Available at Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith A. Sugar

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations