Report highlights Europe-wide gender pension gap

A report by Aegon has revealed the gender pensions gap that affects countries across Europe.

Its latest report, The New Social Contract: Achieving retirement equality for women, found that only 21 per cent of women believe they are on track to achieve their retirement income needs.

One of the most important contributing factors to the pension gap is a ‘persisten gender pay gap’ – 38 per cent of women cite not earning enough as the main barrier to saving for retirement. Aegon said this is coupled with traditional societal norms and gender roles places women at a disadvantage in terms of saving and planning for retirement.

Aegon examined 15 countries around the world including France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the UK in Europe. Out of these countries, Poland was found to have only a small minority of women working part time, which it said allowed for “greater opportunity for Polish women to save throughout their working lives”.

Despite this, Aegon said the recent reduction in the retirement age to 60 for women has reduced the years they spend in the labour market, and this their ability to save. “However, the recent introduction of PPK (Employee Capital Plans) gives everyone an additional way to save for retirement, which could potentially help build more financial security for women,” it said.

France was found to be undertaking several measures to close the gender gap, such as combating discrimination relating to recruitment and the acquisition of professional qualifications.

“The good progress seen in education, politics and the workplace has not, however, resulted in the retirement preparedness gap closing between women and men over the last five years, as measured by the Aegon Retirement Readiness Index (ARRI). Further steps are still required to improve retirement readiness among women,” it said.

In the UK, the report said “great strides” had been taken in terms of the number of women entering the workforce. However, it said further steps still need to be taken to ensure women have the “financial means and career progression opportunities to allow for sufficient retirement preparedness”

Commenting, Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, program director, Mike Mansfield, said: “Women today are better educated entering the workforce than any other time in history. However, parity in education is not translating into equality in employment. This puts women at a disadvantage throughout their career and at risk when it comes to achieving retirement security”.

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