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Friday, September 2, 2016

Social Security Is as Obsolete as the Subjection of Women

The society that Social Security was created for has gone, yet Social Security remains.


America is an entirely different place than it was in 1935. Perhaps one of the greatest changes that has occurred over the last 81 years is the fact that women now play a drastically different role in society.

When Social Security was signed into law in 1935, women made up only 24 percent of the workforce.When Social Security was signed into law as part of the New Deal in 1935, women were only 15 years removed from being given the right to vote. While that is not a very long time in the grand scheme of things, it is also worth mentioning that voting rights had not yet been extended to minority communities, leaving many women barred from political activity altogether.

In those days, women made up only 24 percent of the American workforce. Rather than seek employment outside of the home, most women took on traditional roles and became mothers and homemakers. This was such a common occurrence at the time that even in high school, a great deal of emphasis was placed on home economics courses. Female students learned to sew and cook while their male counterparts learned math and science.

Women were expected to graduate from high school, find a husband, and begin their families. Having no formal career training, many were not qualified to do much of anything else aside from raising the children and tending to the house while their husbands were out being breadwinners.

As a result, women of that era were dependent on their husbands for their financial livelihoods. Since women often outlive their husbands, there was also the issue of what happened to the women if their husbands died and there was no longer a steady stream of income.

Gone Are the Days

To women today, the environment described might sound like that of another planet, but this is the society Social Security was created for.

The world for which Social Security was created is now only a distant memory, yet no changes have been made to Social security.Our country is vastly different today. Women now make up 57 percent of the workforce, and of those with children, 70 percent are also active participants in the American workforce.

As women, we have come a long way from 1935. We are financially independent, we no longer sit on the sidelines as policy is made, and we are active players who are not content to have our decisions made for us.

However, with all these changes that our society has undergone in the last 81 years, our Social Security program has remained relatively untouched. The world in which women lean heavily on their husbands for financial security is now only a distant memory and yet no changes have been made to a system that accounts for the largest portion of our federal budget.

For women, especially millennial women, to take control of our lives and claim the independence it took us decades to claim, it’s time to reform social security.

This first appeared at Generation Opportunity.


  • Brittany is a writer for the Pacific Legal Foundation. She is a co-host of “The Way The World Works,” a Tuttle Twins podcast for families.