chapter  8
21 Pages

Gender, the generational contract and pension privatisation

ByJay Ginn, Sara Arber

The implications of population ageing, combined with high levels of unemployment and earlier exit from the labour market, have fuelled concerns in developed societies about the sustainability of public pensions and whether welfare transfers between generations are equitable. In particular, as the ratio of employed people to pensioners declines, it has been argued that public pension levels can only be maintained by the working population paying more in some form or other, leading to intergenerational conflict over resources (Johnson et al. 1989). Generational accounting, in which net financial transfers of cohorts are compared, has been used to help to legitimate cuts in public pension provision. Yet this technique ignores the non-financial inputs made by women, as part of the normative gender contract, on which the viability of pension systems, and society as a whole, depend.