Women in pension system focus of workshop with Michaela Kreyenfeld

Old-age poverty among women in Germany seen increasing as baby-boomer generation retires.

Old-age poverty among women is likely to rise as a growing number of baby boomers retire, participants in a workshop on women and old-age security at the Hertie School of Governance found.

The workshop, which took place on 7 and 8 December, was part of the Hertie School project “Divorce, separation and the economic security of women,” and was led by Professor Michaela Kreyenfeld of the Hertie School of Governance and Tatjana Mika of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (German Pension Insurance Association). It is funded by the German labour ministry agency Fördernetzwerk interdisziplinäre Sozialpolitikforschung (FIS).

Alongside six presentations on research projects relating to women’s old age security, there were three keynote speeches. Ute Klammer of the Universität Duisburg-Essen spoke on the gender pay gap, which according to a current OECD study, is particularly wide in Germany. Anne Lenze of the Hochschule Darmstadt spoke on the impact of social measures such as the reform of divorce settlement laws in 2008, while Gert G. Wagner of the TU Berlin and the German Institute for Economics (DIW) spoke about how reform proposals for women’s old-age pensions have evolved over time. A key finding was that the rising number of working women in Germany, combined with social policy reforms, means women are now in a better position to build up their own savings, but there is still an enormous gap between women and men in the public pension system.

A panel discussion focused on financing pensions, in particular the topic of private pension savings. Workshop participants agreed that young people need to be better informed about the possibilities for private pensions, and had a lively discussion about the future role of public pensions for old-age security.

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