Almost one woman in every two has an income below the minimum pension. Women live longer (82.4 years) than men (76.5 years) and therefore need to survive for longer with a small pension. This is why it is in women's interest to take the initiative as regards their pension.
Pensions are not designed for women.
Pensions are intended for men: indeed, the model on which they are based is that of the income of a man working full-time throughout his working life.
Women have a different career profile.
They often work part-time, take time-credit more frequently and take a career break to take care of their families. All these factors combined mean that women have less chance of building up pension entitlements. To sum up, the less time worked, the lower the pension.
Lots of women support their spouses in their self-employed activities. Since 1 July 2005, women born after 1 January 1956 who assist their self-employed spouse have been allowed to adopt 'maxi' status. That entitles them to individual social protection equal to a self-employed person in terms of family allowance entitlement, health care insurance, disability cover and pension.
Here are a few key figures:
- The employment level for women is just 55% compared with 69% for men.
- 42% of working women (between the ages of 25 and 49) are employed part-time. For men, this is only 3%.
- Women are over-represented in the lowest paid sectors: retail trade 70%, catering 58%.
- 90% of supporting spouses are women.
- Separations are becoming increasingly frequent and more rapid. The number of divorces increased by 14.2% between 2000 and 2005. The pension on divorce is calculated on the basis of the number of years that the marriage lasted.
- 80% of full-time time-credit is taken by women.
Women more often make their career choice at the start of their career. Men only choose at the end. This has consequences for building up a pension. The impact of this choice on a pension can be limited by opting for part-time work at the end of a career.