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Gender pensions gap widens to more than £180,000 during pandemic

Joanna Faith
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Joanna Faith

The Covid-19 pandemic has widened the gender pensions gap to more than £180,000 among the over 55s, a study suggests.

Research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that women are missing out on £183,936 compared to men in retirement, up from £157,263 last year, despite women contributing proportionately more to their pension pots.

The stark increase is due to the impact the pandemic has had on the value of pension pots and the ability of over-55s to save into them, the report said.

Just under a third (30 per cent) of women surveyed said their financial situation had worsened since the start of the pandemic, hampering their ability to fund or save for later life, compared to a quarter (24 per cent) of men.

Dave Harris, chief executive at more2life, an equity release lender, said: “Today’s figures are another alarming wake-up call about the gender disparity in retirement. It’s clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to many people’s retirement savings, but the impact has been most acutely felt among older women.”

The report suggests women have been more negatively impacted by the pandemic because they are more likely to work in sectors hardest hit by Covid-19 and therefore more likely to have been made redundant or furloughed.

Figures from HMRC show that there was consistently a greater number of women furloughed between July and December 2020.

The research also found that despite women contributing a higher proportion of their income to their pension, they will still need to work an additional 14.5 years to reach the same pension savings as their male counterparts.