chapter  2
11 Pages

Socio-economic inequalities in later life

The role of gender
WithAthina Vlachantoni

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Women’s greater likelihood of providing informal care towards young children and older parents often results in interrupted employment records, which can have an adverse effect on individual income both over women’s life course and especially in later life. Such an effect manifests itself in the form of a higher poverty risk among older women compared to older men, which can be experienced over longer periods due to the persistent gendered gap in life expectancy. This chapter explores gender differentials in socio-economic resources in later life, drawing on evidence primarily from the UK but also from the broader European context. In particular, the chapter discusses the interaction between women’s atypical life courses compared to men’s and the role of the evolving pension system leading up to increasing state pension ages for both sexes in the near future. Against the background of policy challenges associated with the continuing ageing of the population, addressing socio-economic inequalities both over the life course and in later life is pivotal in order to safeguard and promote the well-being of older individuals in future cohorts.