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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Gender Pension Gap: Women Face Uphill Battle


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The gender pension gap continues to explore, posing a formidable challenge for women as they navigate their financial futures. With a staggering 36% difference in pension savings compared to their male counterparts, women find themselves on an uphill battle towards securing their retirement. The question lingers: What are the underlying factors perpetuating this gap, and what actionable steps can be taken to address this pervasive issue? As we investigate further into the complexities of gender pension disparities, it becomes evident that a multifaceted approach is essential in paving the way towards gender equity in retirement planning.

Alarming Gender Pension Gap Statistics

The alarming gender pension gap statistics in Ireland reveal a significant disparity between men and women’s retirement savings. Research indicates a 36% gender pension gap, with women needing to work an additional 8 years to match men’s pension pots. This gap is exacerbated by women earning 22% less on average than men, being twice as likely to earn under 30,000 annually, and facing challenges such as taking an average of 6 years off for maternity and caregiving duties. Additionally, men are twice as likely to earn over 100,000, further deepening the divide. These statistics underscore the urgent need for targeted interventions to address the gender pension gap and secure equitable retirement outcomes for all individuals in Ireland.

Root Causes of Gender Disparity

Gender disparity in pension accumulation arises from underlying societal norms and systemic inequities that disproportionately affect women’s financial security in retirement. Key factors contributing to the gender pension gap include salary discrepancies, career breaks for caregiving responsibilities, and a higher prevalence of part-time work among women. Women often take extended breaks for maternity leave, averaging six years out of the workforce, and are three times more likely to work part-time. Additionally, women are more frequently primary caregivers, with 48 times greater likelihood of being carers. These factors result in women having lower average salaries and fewer opportunities to contribute to pension schemes, ultimately leading to a significant gender disparity in pension savings.

Impact of Additional Voluntary Contributions

Making additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) to pension schemes greatly enhances individuals’ retirement savings and financial security. Research indicates that individuals who make AVCs have pension pots that are, on average, 150% larger than those who do not. Men tend to be more proactive in making AVCs, with higher rates of both single premium and regular contributions. These additional contributions play a significant role in accumulating a substantial pension fund over time. By actively engaging in AVCs, individuals can bridge the gender pension gap by boosting their retirement savings, irrespective of gender. Encouraging both men and women to make AVCs can lead to improved financial stability and security in retirement, reducing the disparities in pension savings between genders.

Strategies to Bridge the Gender Gap

Addressing the disparity in pension savings between men and women requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses policy reforms, employer initiatives, and empowering workplace benefits for female employees. Gender-proofing pension policies is essential to guarantee equality. Employers play a key role in bridging the gap by designing initiatives with pension providers to empower women financially. Introducing specific policies for women returning from maternity leave can also help reduce the gender pension gap. Additionally, additional employer contributions for women returning from maternity leave can be beneficial in boosting their pension savings. It is vital for collective efforts to be made to secure gender equality in pension provision, emphasizing the importance of strategic interventions to bridge the gender gap effectively.

Urgency for Gender Pension Equality

Given the pressing need for reform and action in the area of pension provision, it is imperative to highlight the urgency for achieving gender equality in pension savings. The current gender pension gap, with women needing to work 8 extra years to match men’s pension pots, showcases a significant imbalance that must be addressed promptly. Factors such as salary discrepancies, time out of the workforce, and caregiving responsibilities contribute to this gap, making it imperative to implement strategies to bridge this disparity. Gender-proofing pension policies, encouraging employers to empower female employees economically, and introducing specific measures for women returning from maternity leave are essential steps in closing the gender pension gap. Collective efforts from policymakers, employers, and individuals are necessary to establish a fair and equal pension system for all.


In summary, the gender pension gap remains an urgent issue that requires immediate attention and action. By addressing the root causes of disparity, promoting active engagement in Additional Voluntary Contributions, and implementing targeted policies to support women returning from maternity leave, we can work towards bridging the gap and ensuring financial stability for all individuals in retirement. Gender pension equality is essential for building a more equitable and inclusive society.

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Lisa is a skilled writer with a huge passion for journalism. With a talent for storytelling and a deep understanding of current events, she has quickly become a respected journalist in the industry. Lisa's articles are always well-written and thought-provoking, and she has a knack for finding the most interesting angles on any story. She is known for her ability to connect with her readers and engage them in the issues that matter most. Lisa is a dedicated journalist who is passionate about making a positive impact through her writing. When she's not working, Lisa enjoys hiking, yoga, and spending time with her loved ones.

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