Women face poorer retirements despite reform proposals says Scottish Widows

22 November 2006
Proposed pensions reforms will still leave women worse off than men in retirement, according to a study from Scottish Widows and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

A proposal to cut the number of working years needed to qualify for the full state pension to 30 years for both men and women, unveiled in the Queen's speech, only addresses part of the problem, according to the study.

Its authors point out that the savings accumulated by women over 30 years are likely to be much lower, with men saving on average £199 a month against women's £128.

Women's earnings suffer because many work part-time to care for children or older relatives, or are self-employed.

The study shows almost a third of women currently have no pension provision at all, leaving only 29 per cent optimistic about their retirement, against 35 per cent of men.

"Women pay a high price for the complex and unpredictable lives they lead," Jenny Watson, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, told the Guardian.

"Our pensions system is ... designed around a male breadwinner in a safe job for life, with a full company pension, a marriage lasting through retirement and a dependant wife," she added.

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