Eleanor’s Hope logoOct. 11, 2014 – A new national initiative, Eleanor’s Hope, to help bring an end to the disparity between men’s and women’s income, health and retirement security, was launched this week by The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. A “press call” announcement included Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), NOW President Terry O’Neill and Tufts Health Plan President/CEO, James Roosevelt, Jr. “Women have a lot at stake in November’s election and beyond,” said Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO.
“Through grassroots advocacy and education in our communities and on Capitol Hill, the Eleanor’s Hope project will raise awareness, recruit and train new activists, highlight female leaders who are making a difference and generate national interest in women’s health and retirement security issues leading up to the 2014 and 2016 elections.”
The National Committee will also hold a Congressional staff briefing, Tuesday, October 14, on the issues and policy prescriptions needed to address the income inequality, retirement insecurity and health inequities facing women. Then on October 15, representatives of the initiative will join members of the nation’s only all-female Congressional delegation in New Hampshire to talk about the “Eleanor’s Hope” initiative.
A statement from The National Committee said, “Nationwide, our activists are already in the field educating, advocating and collecting Eleanor’s Hope pledges from women who have promised to get out and vote in November and beyond. We’ve also engaged our membership and active on-line communities to convince Washington that now’s the time to address the retirement crisis facing millions of American women and their families.” The National Committee says it was founded in 1982 by Eleanor & Franklin Roosevelt’s son, former Congressman James Roosevelt. It is that Roosevelt heritage, and in the spirit of Eleanor’s work on women’s and social issues, that this new project will honor her name, according to The National Committee.
“Social Security has contributed to the financial well-being of almost every American family and is among my grandparents’ greatest legacies,” said Roosevelt. “My grandmother’s activism for women’s equity, poverty prevention and other social issues was based on her boundless optimism that the American people could move mountains if only freed from the fear of want and destitution.” Roosevelt added, “Her hope has yet to be fully realized for too many Americans — I believe the Eleanor’s Hope initiative will help to change that.” In a press release following the announcement, The National Committee said: “While Social Security is a program that is vitally important to all Americans, it is especially important to the financial security of women. Not only do women, on average, live longer than men they also earn less in Social Security benefits. These fiscal realities facing millions of American women increase the risk that they may outlive their savings, impoverishing them and their families.
“We are on the front edge of a retirement crisis, which means that protecting and expanding Social Security is an increasingly important part of improving retirement security. Because women earn less than men, they are more vulnerable in retirement,” Senator Warren said. “I’m happy the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare is focusing on this issue through the Eleanor’s Hope initiative “Social Security is all that stands between them and poverty.
We must keep our commitment to our seniors by strengthening Social Security, so that after a lifetime of hard work, everyone has a chance to retire with dignity.” Congresswoman Moore, said in her statement, “The time is now to address and improve the fiscal outlook for Social Security and extend the solvency of the system. Women, people of color and low-income families are counting on us to update and improve this critical social safety net. This is why the National Committee’s ‘Eleanor’s Hope’ initiative is so vital. “Through advocacy, recruitment, and training programs, America’s female leaders are given a valuable platform to raise awareness around the health and retirement security issues of our American women and girls. I’m proud to be a part of this important effort.”
“Women are the sole or primary breadwinners in nearly half of all families in the U.S. – yet, two-thirds of minimum wage workers, and nearly 80 percent of sub-minimum wage tipped workers, are women. Candidates for office need to realize that women, along with the men in their lives, will vote for those who support wage equality and policies that ensure their retirement security,” added NOW President O’Neill.
The goal of Eleanor’s Hope is to raise awareness through community–based and on-line education, recruit and train new activists, and bolster Congressional leaders who are making a difference on women’s income, health and retirement security issues. We’ll advocate for legislation that addresses the inequities threatening millions of retired women. Some of the National Committee’s proposals for improving benefits in Social Security and Medicare include:
Providing Social Security credits for caregivers
Improving Social Security survivor benefits
Equalizing Social Security’s rules for disabled widows
Strengthening the Social Security Cost of Living Allowance
Boosting the basic Social Security benefit of all current and future beneficiaries Building on preventive care provisions in the Affordable Care Act and expanding coordination of care for beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions.