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Gender Pension Gap: Swiss Women Receive a Third Less Than Men


Women in Switzerland receive lower pensions than men, with a gender gap that amounts to around CHF20,000 ($22,000) a year, says a study by insurance company Swiss Life published on Thursday.

According to the study, retired Swiss women receive around a third less than their male counterparts. The latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office show that the average pension for Swiss women is around CHF36,000 per year, compared to CHF55,000 for men.  

The study also showed that the gender pension gap for people aged 65-75 has stayed almost the same since 2012, meaning virtually no progress has been made on this issue.  

Lower wages and part-time work 

This significant difference in pensions could be explained by a lower proportion of women who contribute to the occupational pension system (also known as the second pillar), mainly because their career paths are often interrupted. Often their salaries are also lower than men’s. 

The gender pension gap in Switzerland mainly affects women living alone, who earn 10%-20% less than men. The difference in pensions is greatest for widows, followed by divorced women, says the study.

This could be explained by the career paths experienced by women and the “household chores and part-time work” they had to do, explains study author Andreas Christen.

Swiss pension gap higher than EU average

Although the study suggests that the gap “should narrow in the future”, this will happen “slowly”, as the income gap between men and women in Switzerland is not diminishing. In 2020, women reaching retirement age were working on average 30% less than men and earning on average half as much.

With a gender pension gap of around 33%, Switzerland is not particularly well placed compared to other European countries. “On average, in the EU, this pension gap is 25%,” explains Christen.

Source: Swissinfo

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