Men underestimate the impact of the social and economic pressures felt by women, factors that contribute toward them retiring years before their male counterparts; analysis from the online pension provider PensionBee has revealed.
PensionBee surveyed ~1,000 UK savers to understand their views on how we can create a more inclusive pension system.
The research reveals the barriers that exist at almost every stage of a woman’s life that limit her ability to save for retirement. This, the findings put forward, results in an average gender pension gap of 38 per cent; being as high as almost 60 per cent in some parts of the UK.
According to the research, men tend to underestimate the impact these challenges have on a woman’s ability to make retirement decisions.
Sixty-six per cent of women believe that their higher share of care responsibilities contributed to their early retirement, whilst only 55 per of men shared the same view.
Nineteen per cent of male respondents disagree with this sentiment entirely, whilst being opposed by just seven per cent of female respondents.
Difficult workplace environments and cultures were also discussed as a contributing factor for women’s early retirement, yet 18 per cent of men fail to see the impact, compared to 10 per cent of women.
Another topic the survey explored is whether or not older women experience difficulties finding suitable work.
Twenty-nine per cent of female respondents stood in strong agreement of this statement, in contrast to just 15 per cent of male respondents. Women aged 50 and over are more likely to strongly agree with this view, at 36 per cent, compared to only 11 per cent of male respondents in this age group.
The findings highlight the importance of men recognising these issues to ensure that, going forward, saving systems and government incentives are designed with the experiences of women in mind.
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.
Female workers, in particular, must be part of the conversation in order to reject the pervasive stereotypes and culture of blame that surrounds women, however, progress is slow.
Of the 650 MPs in the House of Commons today, just 34 per cent are women. In the UK’s FTSE 100 there are only eight female CEOs and of the UK’s biggest pension providers just 30 per cent have women in the top job.
Jonathan Lister Parsons, Chief Technology Officer of PensionBee, commented: “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’s 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.”