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There's a big difference between what Irish men and women are living off in retirement

The ESRI has put the gender pension gap at 35%.

Image: Shutterstock

RETIRED WOMEN HAVE 35% less income to live on compared to men on average, new research has revealed.

The ESRI has said that the gender pension gap is down to a “complex mix of factors” but that policymakers should consider greater interventions to ensure the gap is reduced.

The data used in the study comes from 2010′s Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.

It found that the total weekly pension income for that year was €280 for women and €433 for men, indicating a gender pension gap of approximately 35%.

The ESRI says there is no gap between genders in the State pension but that there is a large disparity in private and occupational pensions.

The figures show that 55% of retired men receive a private or occupational pension, compared to only 28% of women.

This particular disparity is greatly affected by the number of years worked by men and women, with 93% of retired men having worked for more than 30 years compared to 33% of retired women.

As a result, women are less likely to receive a contributory pension and among those who do, the average income received is much lower than the average income received by men.

It is worth noting that the data is almost a decade old and applies to individuals who had retired in 2010, meaning more recent changes in work patterns would likely show different results.

Regardless, the ESRI’s Adele Whelan says the government must consider measures to ensure that women can participate adequately and fairly in the workforce.

“A complex mix of factors shape the working lives of women and men, such as personal desires, household decision-making processes, social conditions and public policies.

In order to reduce the pension gender gap, policymakers need to consider measures to raise female employments levels, reduce the differences in occupational and private pension coverage across genders, ensure increased continuity in employment and adequately protect against care-related interruptions.

“Policies concerning the provision of increased and more affordable childcare and long-term care services can also play a role to increase female employment levels and ensure increased continuity in employment,” Whelan added.

The ESRI’s research echoes others studies which have shown that women are far less likely to be preparing for their retirement than men.

Figures from last year showed that just over one in three women own a pension (36%) compared with 55% of men and that 71% of women say they don’t know how to start a pension.

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Rónán Duffy

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