The European Commission has released data on the gender gap in the risk of poverty in old age. While poverty rates among men and women do not differ much during working life, the difference increases after age 65, and even more so after age 75. Reasons for this are life-long differences in pay and working time, different pension ages for men and women, and the fact that more older women live alone.
The European Commission quotes the main reasons lying behind the gender pension gap, currently standing at 40%. The Commission refers to segregation of women in less-remunerated job profiles, the additional time women spend for caring for children and other family members leading to a higher share of part-time work and career interruptions taken by women. To counterbalance these effects, the Commission recommends compensation mechanisms within pension systems that should safeguard older women from falling into poverty: credits for care periods, minimum pensions and survivor’s benefits.
AGE Platform Europe has been warning for a long time that women face a higher risk of poverty in the future, and that pension reforms aiming at shifting pension systems from statutory social protection towards pre-funded occupational and private pension schemes increase the risk of gender differences in pensions. The Commission and member states should use the momentum generated by the Latvian presidency’s Council conclusions on the gender pension gap and the 2015 pension adequacy report to take concrete actions and safeguard the standard of living of older women in the future.
- European Commission, Why older women are much more exposed to the risk of poverty than older men, 14/10/2015
- AGE Platform Europe, Pension Adequacy Report: Risks of poverty will increase, remaining challenges for older women
- AGE statement on pension adequacy, 2015
- AGE calls for a gender equality strategy after 2015
- EU Council calls for action on the gender pension gap
- AGE at EC Pension Forum: Look at adequacy and decumulation phase of supplementary pensions