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Women ‘would need to work extra 19 years typically to close pensions gender gap’

WOMEN must work for an extra 19 years to retire with the same pension savings as men, according to a report published today.

On average, women retire with pension savings of £69,000 compared with £205,000 for men, the research by the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI)  and pensions provider Now Pensions found.

Career gaps, caring responsibilities, childcare costs and lower earnings contribute to women often having less money saved for retirement than men.

As automatic enrolment into workplace pensions starts at 22, the 19-year gender pension gap means a girl would need to start saving for retirement from three years old to have kept up with men by retirement age, researchers suggest.

But women often live longer than men, meaning their retirement pots must last longer.

Now Pensions said the £10,000 earnings trigger for people to be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension should be removed.

Chairwoman of trustees Joanne Segars said: “It’s hard to believe that by the time a young girl starts school at four, she will already be falling behind a boy of the same age when it comes to providing for her retirement.

“Yet this is the reality many girls face.”

National Pensioners’ Convention (NPC) general secretary Jan Shortt said the entire pensions system needs overhauling.

“The pensions system was set up by men for the benefit of men as women did not work or became carers for their whole family when needed. Very briefly, we had the ‘married women’s stamp’ which was sold as a contribution to our pensionable future.

“As it turned out, it was no help at all. There are many reasons women suffer poorer pensions, but a major change in pension legislation and the whole system of pensions must be a step taken in the not to distant future.

“The NPC policy is a decent state pension for all at 70 per cent of the national living wage outside of London and a single index that covers all pensions and other industrial uprating.”

Scottish Widows managing director Jackie Leiper said: “Action must focus on putting the right measures in place for women to be able to stay in high-quality employment while raising families, including improving access and funding for childcare.”

A government spokesman said automatic enrolment has been successful in transforming Britain’s pensions landscape and “brought millions of women into pension saving for the very first time.”

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