Main Article Content
The UK is considered a ’male breadwinner/female part-time carer’ state due to men and women conforming to stereotypical gender roles within partnerships, and welfare policies reflecting and reinforcing this gender division. Using data from the General Household Surveys 2001 and 2002, this article shows that mothers continue to be markedly disadvantaged in participating in the accumulation of pensions compared to women who have never had children. This is mostly because they take on caring roles at the expense of paid work, but also because where women earn much less than their partners, they are more likely to depend on them for pension provision. Female breadwinners are likely to be low earners, and so, in contrast with men, their status as “breadwinner” does not usually imply pension accumulation. Consideration of the impact of the institutional framework of pension provision requires an understanding of inequalities within couples and societal expectations of mothers’ caring responsibilities.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Since 2020 the International Journal of Ageing and Later Life uses a Creative Commons: Attribution license, which allows users to distribute the work and to reform or build upon it without the author's permission. Full reference to the author must be given.
Agulnik, P. & Le Grand, J. (1998). Tax relief and partnership pensions, Fiscal Studies, 19: 403–428. [Read this article]
Arber, S. (1996). Homogamy and gendered heterogamy: strucutural inequality within marriage and cohabitation. Paper presented to ISA RC28 Conference on intersecting domains of stratification: individuals, families and institutions: August 1996, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Arber, S (1999). Unequal partners: inequality in earnings and independent income within marriage. In L. McKie, S. Bowlby & S. Gregory (eds.), Gender, power and the household (pp. 175–191). Basingstoke: MacMillan Press.
Arber, S. & Ginn, J. (1995). ’The mirage of gender equality: occupational success in the labour market and within marriage, British Journal of Sociology, 46: 21–43. [Reat this article]
Arber, S. & Ginn, J. (2004). Ageing and Gender: Diversity and Change. In Social Trends 34: 1–14. London: The Stationery Office.
Bennett, F. (2002). Gender implications of current social security reforms, Fiscal Studies, 23: 559–584.
Beveridge, S. W. (1942). Social Insurance and Allied Services (Rep. No. Cmd 6404). London: HMSO.
Crompton, R. (1999). (ed.) Restructuring gender relations and employment: the decline of the male breadwinner. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Daly, M. (2000). The gender division of welfare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Duncan, S., Edwards, R., Reynolds, T. & Alldred, P. (2003). Motherhood, paid work and partnering: values and theories, Work, employment and society, 17: 309–330. [Read this article]
DWP (2005). Women and pensions: the evidence. London: Department for Work and Pensions.
DWP (2006a). Pension credit estimates of take-up in 2004/5. London: Department for Work and Pensions.
DWP (2006b). Security in Retirement: Towards a New Pension System. Cm 6841. London: Department for Work and Pensions.
Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Esping-Andersen, G. (1999). Social foundations of post-industrial economies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Read this article]
Evandrou, M. & Glaser, K. (2003). Combining work and family life: the pension penalty of caring, Ageing and Society, 22: 583–601. [Read this article]
Falkingham, J. & Rake, K. (2001). Modelling the gender impact of British pension reforms. In J. Ginn, D. Street & S. Arber (eds.), Women, work and pensions: international issues and prospects (pp. 67–86). Buckingham: Open University Press.
Ginn, J. (2003). Gender, pensions and the lifecourse: how pensions need to adapt to changing family forms. Bristol: The Policy Press.
Ginn, J. (2004). European pension privatisation: taking account of gender, Social policy and society, 3: 123–134. [Read this article]
Ginn, J. & Arber, S. (1994). Heading for hardship: how the British pension system has failed women. In S. Baldwin & J. Falkingham (eds.), Social security and social change (pp. 216–234). Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Ginn, J. & Arber, S. (1999). Changing patterns of pension inequality: the shift from state to private sources, Ageing and Society, 19: 319–342. [Read this article]
Ginn, J. & Arber, S. (2002). Degrees of freedom: do graduate women escape the motherhood gap in pensions?, Sociological Research Online, 7.
Harris, J. (2006). The Roots of Public Pensions Provision: Social Insurance and the Beveridge Plan. In H. Pemberton, P. Thane & N. Whiteside (eds.), Britain’s Pensions Crisis: History and Policy (pp. 27–38). London: The British Academy.
Hills, J. (2004). Heading for retirement? National Insurance, state pensions, and the future of the contributory principle in the UK, Journal of Social Policy, 33: 347–373. [Read this article]
Himmelweit, S. & Sigala, M. (2004). Choice and the relationship between identities and behaviour for mothers with preschool children: some implications for policy from a UK study, Journal of Social Policy, 33: 455–478. [Read this article]
Lewis, J. (1992). Gender and the development of welfare regimes, Journal of European Social Policy, 2: 159–173. [Read this article]
Lewis, J. (1997). Gender and welfare regimes: further thoughts, Social Politics, 4: 160–177.
Lewis, J. & Giullari, S. (2005). The adult worker model family, gender equality and care: the search for new policy principles and the possibilities and problems of a capabilities approach, Economy and Society, 34: 76–104. [Read this article]
Lietner, S. (2001). Sex and gender discrimination within EU pension systems. Journal of European Social Policy, 11: 99–115.
Millar, J. (2003). Gender, poverty and social exclusion, Social Policy & Society, 2: 181–188.
O’Connor, J. (1996). From women in the welfare state to gendering welfare state regimes, Current Sociology, 44: 1–124.
O’Connor, J., Orloff, A. & Shaver, S. (1999). States, markets, families: gender, liberalism and social policy in Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the United States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
ONS (2002). Mortality Statistics London: Office for National Statistics.
ONS (2004). Mid-2001 Population Estimates: England and Wales; estimated resident population by single year of age, sex and legal marital status. Office for National Statistics [On-line]. Available: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/Expodata/Spreadsheets/D6890.xls
Orloff, A. (1993). Gender and the social rights of citizenship: the comparative analysis of gender relations and welfare states. American Sociological Review, 58: 308–328. [Read this article]
Paull, G., Taylor, J. & Duncan, A. (2002). Mother’s employment and childcare use in Britain. London: The Institute of Fiscal Studies.
Pensions Commission (2004). Pensions: challenges and choices. The first report of the Pensions Commission. London: The Stationery Office.
Pensions Commission (2005). A new pension settlement for the twentyfirst century. The second report of the Pensions Commission. London: The Stationery Office.
Pensions Commission (2006). Implementing an integrated package of pension reforms: the final report of the Pensions Commission. London: The Stationery Office.
Pfau-Effinger, B. (1999). The modernisation of family and motherhood in Western Europe. In R. Crompton (ed.), Restructuring gender relations and employment: the decline of the male breadwinner (pp. 60–79). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pierson, P. (2001). Post-industrial pressures on the mature welfare states. In P. Pierson (ed.), The new politics of the welfare state (pp. 80-106). Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Read this article]
PPI (2006). Response to the Government’s White Paper, Security in retirement: towards a new pension system. London: Pensions Policy Institute.
Price, D. (2007a). Closing the gender gap in retirement income: what difference will recent UK pension reforms make?, Journal of Social Policy. [Read this article]
Price, D. (forthcoming 2007b). The Pensions White Paper: Taking Account of Gender. Benefits: The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice.
Sainsbury, D. (1994). Women’s and men’s social rights: gendering dimensions of welfare states. In D. Sainsbury (ed.), Gendering welfare states (pp. 150–169). London: SAGE publications.
Ward, C., Dale, A. & Joshi, H. (1996a). Combining employment with childcare: an escape from dependence?, Journal of Social Policy, 25: 223–247.
Ward, C., Dale, A. & Joshi, H. (1996b). Income dependency within couples. In L. Morris & E. Lyon (eds.), Gender relations in public and private: new research perspectives (pp. 95–120). Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Warren, T. (2000). Diverse breadwinner models: a couple-based analysis of gendered working time in Britain and Denmark, Journal of European Social Policy, 10: 349–371.
Williams, F. (2004). Rethinking families. London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.