Women’s pension pots shrunk by an average of £27,000 during the pandemic when compared to men’s, research shows.
The ‘gender pension gap’ is now £183,936, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and equity release lender More2Life.
Last year this was £157,263 – a £26,673 difference.
Women have smaller pensions than men because they are paid less, are less likely to hold higher-paid roles and are more likely to take time out of full-time work for childcare and caring roles.
But the growth in this gap is because women’s finances took a heavier hit from the pandemic.
The research said 30% of women reported their financial situation got worse during the period, compared to 24% of men.
Women were more likely to work in the sectors hit hardest by Covid, and so more likely to be made redundant or furloughed.
Research from King’s College London and The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership shows that 31% of furloughed women worked zero hours in July 2020 since the first lockdown in March, compared to 20% of their male peers.
Men have average annual retirement incomes of £20,712, while women have around £14,964.
This is despite the fact that women contribute more into their pension pots than men, as they pay in 9.4% of their incomes and men 8.3%.
Men tend to earn more than women. In 2020 the typical man put £3,184 into his pension, compared to £2,340 for women.
Women need to work around 14.5 extra years before retiring to have pensions equal to their male counterparts.
More2Life chief executive Dave Harris said: “Although women appear to be better at saving into their pension, they still face a retirement that is less comfortable and financially secure than their male counterparts.
“The stark difference in retirement incomes highlights the need to address the root causes of financial gender inequality and better support women as they make choices around how to use their assets both in the lead up to and during retirement.”
Men who worked full-time for 30-34 years got the highest average annual retirement income of £22,776, while their female counterparts had £17,004.
However, the biggest gap was seen among those who worked for more than 50 years.
Of these, the typical man got £19,404 a year, significantly more than the average woman £11,592.
The research said this is probably because this group of women were more likely to take part-time working roles which fitted around family responsibilities.