Pensions gender gap 'unsolved'

21-11-2006

Pensions gender gap 'unsolved'
The disparity in pension provisions for men and women will be reduced but not eliminated following the government's reforms of the pensions system, according to a new report.

Insurance provider Scottish Widows and the Equal Opportunities Commission claim that the growing inadequacies of the state pension combined with the constricting availability of private sector pension funds are affecting women worse than men because they tend to spend more time caring for others or working while self-employed.

Nearly a third of women have no private pension and half stop saving when they have children, the report, published today, shows.

As the median female income remains 69 per cent lower than the median man's income and the erosion of the marriage institution makes divorcees exposes increasing number of women to a lonely retirement, the gender gap is becoming wider and wider, it argues.

"Although the state system is beginning to adapt to women's needs, the proposed changes to workplace pensions will still not cater for women's irregular working patterns," Ian Naismith, head of pensions market development at Scottish Widows, commented.

"Even those in employment may not work full time which means their pension pots will be severely reduced. But women do need to realise that relying on their spouse to fund their retirement will not necessarily mean that they are looked after and they need to take action to put money aside for retirement."

Underlying the pensions gap between men and women is the knock-on impact raising children has on women's earning capacity. The report states that just 37 per cent of women work on a full-time basis, compared to 60 per cent of men.


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