The gender pension gap, or the fact that women tend to live on a lower income in retirement than men, is well-known and is usually measured by combining all sources of pension income, whether public or private, pay-as-you-go or funded. However, little is known about the specific contribution of funded and private retirement savings arrangements to this gap. Given the growing weight of retirement savings arrangements in the provision of retirement income around the world, understanding how they may contribute to the gap today and into the future is of paramount importance.

Towards Improved Retirement Savings Outcomes for Women examines the contribution of retirement savings arrangements to the gap in retirement income between men and women. It provides governments with solutions to ensure that the design of these arrangements does not disadvantage women more than existing gender gaps already do, in particular in the labour market. It first analyses why the gender pension gap exists and sheds light on some of the labour market, behavioural and cultural factors that contribute to income inequalities in retirement. The study also examines how differences between men and women arise during the accumulation phase, using country case studies to assess how demographics, labour markets and other factors may affect gaps in pension plan participation, assets and entitlements. The study then explores the extent to which the design of retirement savings plans affects men and women differently. Finally, it provides policy options to improve retirement savings outcomes for women and to help close the gender pension gap.

This publication is the work of the pension team from the Consumer Finance, Insurance and Pensions Division of the OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs. It uses data from the Eurosystem Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS), the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) and the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS) databases, among other sources. It has greatly benefitted from the comments of national government delegates of the OECD Working Party on Private Pensions (WPPP). This international body brings together policy makers, regulators and private sector representatives from close to 40 countries to discuss issues related to the operation and regulation of funded retirement income systems. Delegates assisted in verifying the accuracy of the information corresponding to their respective countries. Any remaining errors are solely the responsibility of the authors.

The editorial team for this publication was led by Pablo Antolín. Chapter 1 was prepared by Romain Despalins; Chapter 2 by Elsa Favre-Baron; Chapter 3 by Diana Hourani; Chapter 4 by Stéphanie Payet; and Chapter 5 by Jessica Mosher. Pamela Duffin and Edward Smiley provided editorial and communication support.

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