[Brussels, 17 February 2012] The long-awaited European Commission’s white paper on pensions, entitled ’Agenda for adequate, safe and sustainable pensions,’ was released on Thursday 16 February. The European Women’s Lobby welcomes that the Commission has taken many of the EWL’s recommendations into account. The white paper acknowledges the need to close the gender pension gap between women and men, and is a starting point for addressing the gender dimension of pensions across Europe.
A specific section of the white paper discusses the gender pension gap and underlines the need to look at the wider context of gender disparities in pensions: differences between women and men in employment, pay, contributions and career breaks and part-time working for caring purposes. The White Paper also calls to challenge gender roles in relation to care, among other things by facilitating care credits for both women and men.
While welcoming the gender equality references, the EWL regrets that the white paper focuses on second and third pillar pensions and remains silent on the first pillar/state pensions. The paper also falls short of adequately addressing women’s unequal position - both in terms of labour market participation and the persistent gender pay gap. Inequalities prevent women from investing in complementary pension systems, which the white paper proposes as one of the ways forward to addressing the adequacy and sustainability of pensions.
The EWL will continue to closely monitor the implementation of the white paper, particularly the commitment made to “identify and recommend best practice in reducing the gender gap in pensions, e.g. promotion of equal pay, minimum pension entitlements, care credits, pension rights splitting at divorce.”
Read the joint press release of AGE Platform Europe, European Women’s Lobby and the European Youth Forum on the white paper.