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Monday 21 January 2019


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Cyprus, Malta and the Netherlands record largest gender pension gap - European Commission

Written by Talya Misiri

Cyprus, Malta and the Netherlands have the largest gender pension gaps of above 44 per cent in the European Union, the European Commission has found.

According to the European Commission’s third Pension Adequacy Report, the gender gap in pensions in EU member states was found to range between 1.8 per cent and 48.7 per cent and is around 37.2 per cent for pensioners aged 65-79 in the EU-28.

With Cyprus, Malta and the Netherlands demonstrating the highest gender gap for retirement income, the smallest gender gaps of below 10 per cent are in Estonia, Denmark and Slovakia.

The gender gap for pensioners aged 65-79 was found to have decreased slightly in the last few years across the 28 member states, from around 41 per cent in 2009 to 37.2 per cent in 2016, on average. However, the gap is still higher for pensioners aged 65-79 than the gap for all pensioners aged 65 and over, 36.6 per cent in 2016.

With these are slight changes in the pensions gender gaps, they have remained “almost stable” in many countries, including those where it is the highest, the European Commission detailed. An increasing tendency have been found in Malta, where the gap has more than double to reach 44.8 per cent, while Denmark, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia have low and decreasing gender gaps.

Moreover, older women were found to have a higher risk of poverty than men as average pension income is much lower.

The report noted: “While women are the majority of pensioners and are more likely to live alone, they have significantly lower pensions than men. As the EU population ages, the number and population share of older women will increase further. Ensuring equal opportunities for women and men to earn pension rights will be crucial for the long-term adequacy of pensions.”

To reduce these inequalities, equal opportunities policies before people reach pensionable age should be introduced, the European Commission has advised. “Pension systems cannot compensate for all the consequences of adverse events and developments that build up over people’s working lives,” it said.

The Commission concluded: “Looking beyond pensions specifically and tackling issues facing women in the workplace would also result in improved retirement savings for women. Given the importance of employment history for income prospects at older ages, increased female labour market participation across cohorts is likely to help reduce future age-related income inequality.

“While the gender gap in employment is decreasing, the continuing stable gender pay gap will still determine the gender pension gap in years to come.”

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