European & International News

Huge Gender Gap in Pensions: silent problem a cause for alarm

(Brussels, 19 September 2013) A new report from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice reveals shocking disparity in economic independence amongst women and men in their pension years.

How wide is the pension gap in Europe?

The report’s central estimate of the Gender gap in pensions is that the gap is very wide. The EU-27 average is 39%. The two highest figures are for Luxembourg (47%) and Germany (44%). At the other extreme, Estonia has the lowest gender pension gap (4%), followed by the Slovak Republic (8%).A large number of countries are around 30%,while 17 out of the 27 have gender gaps in pension greater or equal to 30%. This is more than twice the figure of the gender pay gap indicator (equal to 16%). However,there is no simple relationship between the two figures.

The fear is that individuals accustomed to economic independence in their daily affairs might be confronted, once they enter pensionable age, with systems built around the presumption that dependence is the ‘normal’ situation. What had been gained in the labour market may be reversed
in pensions
. The worrying fact is that we are only gradually
forming an opinion as to whether this fear is unfounded or not. The statistical analysis showed 10 that gender gaps in pension are many times as
wide as pay gaps. One especially unsettling issue concerns the lack of visibility of the problem.

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