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Gender pension gap needs to be addressed – Boylan

18 November, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Speaking this afternoon in light of the Morgan McKinley study which exposed the severity of the gender pay gap in Ireland, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has said as well as tackling the gender pay gap, there is also much work that needs to be done to address the gender pension gap.

MEP Boylan said:

“The gender pay gap and the gender pension gap are inextricably linked, and while attention has rightly been paid to the pay gay this week in light of the revelations from Morgan McKinley, light also needs to be shone on the gender pension gap.

“One of the main issues which the European Parliament outlined its intentions to tackle during the current legislature was the gender pension gap which was measured at 40.2% across the Member States in 2014. Thankfully that process has been ongoing and in recent weeks the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee has been working on a report on “The Need for an EU strategy to end and prevent the Gender Pension Gap.

“The pension gap itself is an indicator of inequalities already existing in the labour market and households, as well as variations in pension systems design, and highlights the need for a holistic approach in addressing these inequalities.

“It is also an indicator of the inequality of government policy. This is patently true from an analysis of the rise in the gender pension gap since the beginning of the economic crisis.

“We know the pension gap results from the cumulative impact over the life-courses of women due to a variety of factors, including the pay gap and breaks from work for caring responsibilities. But we also need to acknowledge when we talk about tackling the gender pension gap that poor government planning and austerity policies are exacerbating rather than reducing this inequality.

“I’m happy to see this issue on the agenda of the European institutions, and I look forward to the report of the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee on the issue as it will hopefully be a roadmap for all Member States on how to address the gender pension gap. 

“However, the Irish government also needs to set its own agenda and do more to reduce gender pay and pension gaps as well as implement progressive social policy on childcare and maternity and paternity leave amongst other things. It is only through governments taking up this fight can we hope to have equality in this area.” 

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