‘Men underestimate factors that contribute to gender pension gap’

A new survey by PensionBee finds a gap between men and women’s perceptions of the barriers faced by women during their working lives which contribute to the gender pension gap.

Jar with coins in it and a sticker on it saying pensions


Men underestimate the impact of the social and economic pressures felt by women that contribute to them retiring years before their male counterparts, according to online pension provider PensionBee.

Its survey of around 1,000 savers located across the UK found that there are barriers at almost every stage of a woman’s life, limiting her ability to save for retirement, resulting in a gender pension gap of 38% on average and almost 60% in some parts of the UK.

Despite these barriers being acutely felt by women, the survey suggests men systematically tend to underrate the impact of these challenges on women’s retirement decisions and outcomes.

PensionBee found that, while 66% of women believe that womens’ higher share of care responsibilities contributed to their early retirement, only 55% of men are in agreement. And 19% of male respondents disagree with this sentiment entirely, compared to just 7% of female respondents.

Difficult workplace environments

Difficult workplace environments and cultures were also discussed as a contributing factor for women’s early retirement, yet 18% of men fail to see the impact, compared to 10% of women. Another topic the survey explored is whether older women experience difficulties finding suitable work, with 29% of female respondents in strong agreement, in contrast to just 15% of male respondents. Women aged 50 and over are more likely to strongly agree with this view, at 36%, compared to only 11% of male respondents in this age group.

PensionBee says the findings show the importance of men recognising the issues faced by women so that saving systems and government incentives are designed which cater to them. It adds that businesses and lawmakers need to invest in building sex-disaggregated data sets, while diverse representation is required across the teams that are responsible for implementing solutions.

Challenges faced by women

Jonathan Lister Parsons, Chief Technology Officer of PensionBee, said: “Our survey shines a light on the multifaceted and systemic challenges faced by women, as well as the huge disconnect between how men and women perceive these barriers.

“Women have many allies, however, real progress cannot be made if the challenges faced by this gender are routinely underrated and minimised by men who typically hold the positions of power needed to effect lasting change – from business leaders to policymakers.

“If we are to improve savings rates among women and eradicate the gender pension gap once and for all, it is essential that all statistics are disaggregated by sex so the impact on women is fully visible. As men we so often assume that what is experienced by our sex is universal, and that needs to end today.”

*workingwise.co.uk has launched a survey on gendered ageism, looking at all the factors that contribute to the gender pension gap. You can take part here.

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