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Gender pensions gap means retired women go the equivalent of four and a half months each year without a pension – TUC

Today is ‘gender pensions gap day’ – when women pensioners start getting paid.

  • The average pensions income gap between women and men is 38% 
  • New TUC analysis reveals that in many industries women have workplace pensions worth less than a fifth of male colleagues  
  • TUC calls on ministers to urgently fix auto-enrolment and invest in childcare to improve retirement incomes for women 

The gender pensions income gap in the UK means that retired women effectively go for four and a half months each year without getting a pension, making today (Thursday) ‘gender pensions gap day’ – the day women pensioners start getting paid. 

Prospect union has calculated that the income gap between men and women in retirement is now 38%, more than twice the level of the gender pay gap (currently 15.4%). 

This disparity has the same effect as making women wait 38% of the year (139 days) before they get their pension today on ‘gender pensions gap day’. 

New analysis published by the TUC to mark gender pensions gap day shows that in two-thirds of industries women have built up workplace pensions worth less than half as much as men. 

Why is there such a big gender pensions income gap? 

The TUC says the main drivers of the gender pensions income gap are: 

  • Caring responsibilities: The unequal division of caring responsibilities means women are much more likely to take time out of work or work part-time to look after children, making it harder to build up a workplace pension. 
  • Auto-enrolment: Gaps in pensions auto-enrolment that mean employers do not have to enrol low paid workers into a workplace pension. 
  • Gender pay gap: The impact, over time, of women earning less than men due to the gender pay gap. 
  • National Insurance: Historic differences in National Insurance that have left women with lower state pensions on average. 

Which industries have the biggest gender pension gaps? 

The UK pension system relies heavily on private pension saving – which generally means a workplace pension scheme – to supplement our low state pension. 

New analysis of ONS figures commissioned by the TUC has revealed huge differences in the average amount of pension savings built up by men and women in most industries. 

In manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and other service activities, women aged between 45 and 64 have less than a fifth (19%) of the pension wealth of male colleagues. And in administration and support services the average woman in this age group has built up almost no pension wealth at all and has a pension pot a hundred times smaller than the average man in this industry. 

In 10 out of the 15 industries for which we have reliable figures – even those dominated by women including education and human health and social work – median private pension wealth for women is less than half that of men (36% and 31% respectively). 

The TUC says that unless these disparities in pension wealth are tackled, the gender pension gap will persist when today’s workers reach retirement. 

Regional gender pension gaps 

The analysis also shows that the extent of the gender gap varies by region. 

  • London is the region where women aged 45-64 have been able to build up the lowest amount of pension wealth (£12,600 on average) and where the gender pensions gap is largest (75%). 
  • And women in the south east (67%) and the east of England (65%) also have much larger pensions income gaps than average.

Click here for the full press release


Original article link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/gender-pensions-gap-means-retired-women-go-equivalent-four-and-half-months-each-year-without

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