As we can see here some half of the countries have established lower retirement age for women than men. I struggle to think of any reason why would they do so.

I understand that not every government nor nation, even in XXI century, agrees on gender equality. But even then, if we assume that men are favored in some of the countries then of course the retirement age should be lower for men than women.

And even if we would take into account life expectancy - still women tend to live longer than men, therefore if anything they should work longer.

  • Comments deleted. Please don't answer in comments. If you would like to answer the question, please post a proper answer which adheres to our quality standards.
    – Philipp
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 15:25
  • 2
    "But even then, if we assume that men are favored in some of the countries then of course the retirement age should be lower for men than women." - You misunderstand patriarchy. Men having more rights and higher prestige does not mean that everything is designed to harm women. Most patriarchal countries sent only men to war. Shouldn't they have sent women instead? Of course not. The reason that women are physically weaker than men was a main reason of holding them in lesser regards, but it will also include that they don't have to go to war, or work in mines, or work until high age.
    – Thern
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 14:12

2 Answers 2


It is a reflection of traditional gender rôles and stereotypes. The husband earns the money, the wife cares for the children. The husband would be older than the wife and so would start receiving a pension at about the same time. Also, women were seen as weaker and frailer and less able to work into her sixties.

These rôles were never as fixed as lawmakers and pension providers seemed to believe. But these were the stereotypes that were prevalent at the start of the 20th century, and became fixed in pension and welfare legislation.

  • 2
    While this is a valid point there are others. Things like pregnancy and hormonal decline are not cultural. Also there's the notion most earning money womans still cares for the children and home, making them "double shifters"
    – jean
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 20:13

I will try to provide a developing country perspective (Eastern European country - Romania). According to this source (Romanian) there is 5 year gap between retirement age for men and women (65 vs. 60).

I remember when it was announced and virtually nobody thought that it was not correct.

I think there are two major aspects:

1) High income families - they afford to externalize multiple chores such as laundry and cleaning, so house chores for the parents themselves are few and they can be easily divided between man and woman (gay marriage is not allowed yet). For this category, it might make little sense to have different retirement age. However, high income families are not many, so the vast majority of the families fall in the second category.

2) Mid-low income families - in most cases, most of the house chores are done by women (citation needed as this is based on dozens of first hand observations). Of course, house chores is also work, so women typically work more than men during their active lifetime.

Also, there is a strong tendency for parents to get help from grandparents (typically the grandmother) when raising their children, so people are quite happy that (often) the grandmother is available to help them in this regard.

I sense this might be true for other developing countries as well, but it clearly depends on multiple factors such a cultural background. For developed countries the other answers might be more fit.

  • Keep in mind that women tend to work part time more often than men when calculating "work + chores" hours.
    – janh
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 12:40
  • @janh - yes, but this is also reflected in income after retirement, so I do not think it really matters.
    – Alexei
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 13:28
  • certainly. The question didn't ask about income after retirement though, but about retirement age ;) Working less hours per week should amount to working more years so you get to the same general level. Your argument ("they work more at home, and the same at work, therefore more in total") needs very good sources, since it would go against the trends in pretty much all European countries.
    – janh
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 15:48

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