Women, Work and Pensions: International Issues and Prospects

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Population ageing has fuelled interest in pensions and intergenerational equity, leading to privatization of pensions. Yet the gender implications of such policies and the connections between the gender contract and the generational contract remain unexplored. Women, Work and Pensions examines how women's paid and unpaid work, interacting with the gendered pension systems of six liberal welfare states - Britain, the US, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand - contributes to female poverty in later life. By comparing how these welfare states deal with women's employment, family roles and pension entitlement, the nature of the residual welfare model is better understood. Changes over the past three decades in the gender contract and in women's employment suggest that family caring may have less impact on women's pensions in the future. Yet pension reforms which diminish the effectiveness of women-friendly features in state pensions through cuts and privatization point in the opposite direction. This issue, and how the pension penalties of caring vary with women's class, ethnicity and birth cohort, are major themes of the book.