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Article series: Fighting the gender pension gap

Women worldwide receive a significantly lower pension on average: the difference between men and women in Europe is 39%. This is due to a large extent to their professional careers, but it is not the only factor. Swiss Life addresses the gender pension gap phenomenon in a series of five articles.


The pension gap between men and women is a worldwide phenomenon — and it’s serious. In Switzerland the gap is 37%, in France 39% and in Germany a full 47%. This has dire consequences: low pensions make it difficult for many women to enjoy a self-determined life, and frequently lead to poverty in old age. In Germany alone, one pensioner in ten already lives in poverty. The gender pension gap is not a law of nature: there are sustainable and innovative approaches to narrowing it. To this end companies are called upon to be more active, society needs to change its thinking and women must show greater initiative.

Swiss Life addresses the issue in a series of articles where it analyses and summarises the reasons and possible solutions.


Read our five articles on the gender pension gap:

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Article series: gender pension gap

The pension gap is a function of one’s professional career. But not only that. Women live considerably longer than men. This means not only that women draw from their statutory pensions insurance for longer, they are also often obliged to spend a longer time making up gaps in their provisions with private funds. Furthermore, the difference in retirement duration between the genders is exacerbated by the fact that women retire earlier.

Read more about the seven reasons as to why women have less money in old age.

Women earn 16% less than men on average in the EU. For pensions the difference is almost as high as 40%. In spite of pan-European political initiatives, the intergender salary and pension gap has hardly changed. Growing life expectancy may exacerbate the situation as the salary gap increases with age. Women therefore need to accumulate vested pension capital more easily.

Read more about the consequences of women earning less in old age.

The subject has gained in urgency in the public debate as the gender-specific pension differences are not a law of nature. At the same time, however, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. One thing is clear: it will take more input from companies, reform of public institutions, change in society and, above all, more individual initiative if women are to gain more money and security in their old age.

Read more on how to lower the pension gap for women.

The fact that pensions in Europe are lower on average for women than men has gained in urgency in public debate. But what is social media’s take on women and retirement provisions? Who discusses it on Twitter, Facebook etc. and what do they say? How does coverage of the topic differ between Switzerland, Germany and France? A social media evaluation gives insights into the discussion.

Read more about how the gender pension gap is discussed on social media.

The amount of your pension is a key factor in determining whether you will be economically independent and enjoy self-determination in old age. Throughout Europe, however, women still receive significantly lower pensions than men and they are worried about falling into poverty when they are old. Women can help themselves and improve their situation. That can be achieved through more individual responsibility for women, more action on a corporate level and a paradigm shift in society.

Read more about what women can do to close the gender pension gap.