The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel is a non-partisan socioeconomic research institute, developing innovative research and policy options that advance the well-being of Israelis. After finishing a report, the Taub Center will share their findings with key decision makers, including members of the Knesset, government agencies, and the media, to help shape a fact-based public conversation around a complicated issue.
The HF made a grant to the Taub Center to conduct research, and distribute its findings, about one of the most pressing economic issues impacting older Israeli women:  the gender gap in retirement income between women and men.  For the past few years, the Knesset has debated measures to raise the age at which women can receive a pension benefit and a government-funded old age payment from 62 to 65; the retirement age for men is 67.  The Taub Center has said that the focus on retirement age is not sufficient, and that policy makers must consider a range of issues that impact retirement income and which lead to a gender gap in pension payments.
Their report, “From employment to retirement: the pension gender gap in Israel,” which was released last month, found that women in Israel are at a severe disadvantage vis-à-vis men when it comes to retirement income. Women’s monthly income from job-related pensions is lower than that of men, on average, because women earn lower salaries, go on maternity leave, and tend to retire earlier from the labor market.  Their study found that even if women delay retirement until age 67, married women would receive a pension from their job that is 20% lower than married men, and single women garner pensions that are 27% lower than unmarried men.  Part of this disparity can also be attributed to Israeli law—unlike other developed countries, Israeli insurance companies, which manage and administer private pensions, may consider the recipient’s sex when determining the pension payout; since women tend to live longer, their monthly payments are lower.
The Taub Center spells out a couple of potential policy changes that can improve economic conditions for elderly women, including raising the retirement age, finding solutions for maintaining continuity of pension and social security benefits during maternity leave and childcare; and reevaluating the gender aspects of private pensions.
Hadas Fuchs, one of the report’s co-authors, said, “The key to narrowing the pension gap is narrowing the gaps that exist in the labor market.”