The gap between men and women’s saving pots grows dramatically with age and will result in women being considerably worse off in retirement, according to analysis by pension provider Aegon.
It found women aged 50 have on average only accrued half the pension savings of men, at £56,000 compared with £112,000 saved by men.
And the gap was found to be widening with age.
Women aged 30 would need to contribute an extra £21 a month to close the gap on men, but by age 50, this has risen to an extra £360 a month, according to Aegon.
This meant it pays to address any shortfall in savings as quickly as possible, the firm said.
Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “It’s shocking that 100 years after women secured the vote, we have a gender pay gap across every occupation.
“The fact that the pay gap filters down to mean women receive lower pension incomes is a double blow.”
She added: “When you factor in that women’s ability to save is further interrupted by breaks in their career to raise a family or care for elderly parents, the pension gap reaches epic proportions, making it difficult to catch up.”
The pensions gender gap
Average female pension fund
Average male pension savings
Additional monthly contribution required for women to catch up by age 65
£21.25 extra a month
£73.81 extra a month
£360.92 extra a month
Figures assume investment growth of 4.25% per annum after charges and contributions increase each year in line with inflation at 2.5%
Aegon questioned two thousand 18-65 year olds in December 2016.
It found half of women (49 per cent) were not confident about a comfortable retirement, compared with 33 per cent of men.
This was the result of a number of factors, including a gender pay gap and disrupted working patterns.
However, it’s not a lost cause, Aegon said, pointing to steps women could take to increase their chances of a secure retirement starting with forming a financial plan.
It found more than one in four (28 per cent) women did not know how much they’d saved, compared with a mere 9 per cent of men, which put them at a further disadvantage, Aegon said.
At the same time 42 per cent of women had never thought about how much they’ll need, creating a danger they would not save enough from the outset and will have to work longer or potentially run out of money in retirement.
Ms Smith said: “Gaps in pension savings history leave you worse off in retirement — but for women who take time out of their career this is unavoidable and could mean they have to work longer to make up the shortfall.
“However, the earlier women are able to address the shortfall, the better. Our figures show that women in the early part of their career are within touching distance of men’s overall savings – by the time pensions freedoms are an option, the pension pots of men are out of sight.”
Anna Sofat, founder of Addidi Wealth, called on the government had to act on equalising pensions.
She said: "The onus is on the government to think bigger."