Table of Contents

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Elgar original reference

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.

Chapter 35: Gender, Poverty and Pensions in the United Kingdom

Jane Falkingham, Maria Evandrou and Athina Vlachantoni

Subjects: development studies, development studies, family and gender policy, geography, human geography, research methods in geography, law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights, social policy and sociology, family and gender policy


Jane Falkingham, Maria Evandrou and Athina Vlachantoni Introduction Across the developed world women are more likely than men to experience poverty in old age as a result of the way their work/life/care patterns interact with the entitlement rules of pension systems (Ginn et al., 2001). The pension problem for women originates in pension structures that were designed to provide pensions directly to men by virtue of their employment record and indirectly to women by virtue of their marital bond to their spouse. However, women’s likelihood of being in poverty in old age can be smaller or greater depending on the extent to which pension systems reward, or at least do not penalise, lifecourses that are interrupted and that include periods caring for dependent children or adults (Leitner, 2001). For instance, pension systems that award pensions relative to individuals’ employment records can be detrimental to women if they strictly reward long and continuous employment records and do not take caring periods into account. Similarly, pension systems that award flat-rate pensions can be beneficial to many women, as long as these flat-rate benefits are adequate to lift them out of poverty. This chapter provides first, a summary of the issues linking the areas of gender, pension protection and poverty in the developed world; second, an overview of the British pension system and the most recent reforms in this policy field; and third, a set of recommendations for the continuous gender-sensitive design of pension protection in the United Kingdom (UK) and beyond. Gender,...

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