Women's pension in Belgium 25 per cent lower than men's

Women in Belgium receive on average 25 per cent less pension than men, according to a study by the Federal Planning Bureau at the request of the FPS Social Security. This puts Belgium close to the European average.

Women in Europe tend to receive a lower pension, with the average gap being 26 per cent. The gap is greater in western and southern Europe than in central and eastern Europe. It is highest in Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Malta, and lowest in Slovenia, Denmark and Estonia.

However, the gap has narrowed everywhere in Europe over the last decade, including in Belgium.

Labour inequality

Gender inequality in the labour market explains the large divide. Women are more likely than men to be inactive or to work part-time. But countries can build redistribution into their policies, including through minimum and maximum pensions.

Belgian Pensions minister Karine Lalieux believes the federal government's pension reform will reduce the gap by giving more weight to part-time work when calculating the minimum pension.

"In the last legislature, the minimum pension was increased from 1,291 euros net to 1,640 euros net for a full career," she says. "It is important that we continue to strive for fair pension systems that address existing inequalities and provide equal opportunities for men and women."



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