Netherlands has second largest gender pension gap in EU
On average, men in the Netherlands receive over 40 percent more pension than their female peers. With that, the Netherlands has the second largest pension gap in the European Union, after Cyprus. This difference will decrease a little bit in the coming years, but will not disappear by itself, research by pension think tank Netspar showed, NOS reports.
In 2018, men in the Netherlands received an average pension of 34 thousand euros, while women received almost 20 thousand euros on average. This gap is largely the result of rules and circumstances from the past. The women who are now retired come from a generation of women who often worked few hours and usually for lower wages than men. Until 1958, for example, married women in the Netherlands weren't allowed to work.
But the current generation of working women also work part-time relatively often and therefore build up less pension than their male peers. "Dutch women are champions of part-time work," researcher Marike Knoef said to NOS. "But what also plays a role is that pensions in sectors where many women work are lower." Women also live longer than men on average. "In order to receive the same monthly pension, more contributions are therefore needed in sectors with many women."
The pension gap between men and women will decrease somewhat in the coming years. In the past decades, women started working more than the previous generations. In 2005, a woman in her sixties had accrued a pension of more than 2 thousand euros above the state pension. In 2014, that increased to around 5,500 euros per year. But that curve is flattening off. "At this rate, it will not be possible to close the gap in the next 20 years," Knoef said.
The Netspar researchers therefore called for active policy to close this gap. One solution is to boost women's labor participation with policy that favor them, such also giving preference to a female applicant in the event of unequal suitability. Though the researchers pointed out that this type of policy will entail many legal hurdles. Another option is to get more women working full-time, or more men working part-time. This can be achieved by expanding partner leave, so that women are less hindered from working after childbirth, or expanding options for working from home.