First things first: everyone, regardless of gender, should at minimum have a pension. There are so many benefits: security in retirement, tax reliefs, effectively free money via employer contributions, and protection from inflation, just to name a few. And obviously, at Metis Ireland we strongly believe that everyone needs to go a step further and have a financial plan. Today though, I am going to concentrate on Finance for Women.


It’s a sad fact that in 2023 there is still a Gender Pension Gap, which makes it so important to use days like International Women’s Day to highlight this topic and encourage women to look at their finances, consider what they want in life, and put a plan in place. We should all be taking control of our money, managing any debts, investments, pensions, and budgeting effectively to achieve your future goals.


Why the gap?


In Ireland, there is a significant Gender Pension (and Pay) Gap. According to research conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in 2019, women’s pensions are on average 35% lower than men’s pensions. This gap is primarily due to women having lower lifetime earnings and fewer years in paid employment due to caregiving responsibilities.


Women are also more likely to work in part-time or temporary jobs, which often do not offer pension benefits. Additionally, many women lose out on important pension contributions whilst on maternity, parental or other caregiving leave.


Let’s not forget that it’s only been relatively recently that women were permitted their careers at all – until 1973, women working in banks or public service had to resign from their jobs when they got married, on the grounds that they were occupying a job that should go to a man. It wasn’t until 1977 that the Employment Equality Act prohibited this kind of discrimination across the board. Social acceptance and change tend to happen much slower than legislative change.


So, while this was the case legally from the 70s, in practice the attitudes of friends, family, colleagues, and employers would have been slow-moving and may have provided peer pressure to women to commit to a role as a housewife after her marriage. This letter to the editor of the Irish Times, dated 23 November 1999, is an interesting read for an insight into one woman’s experience of being a newly married woman in Dublin during the mid-70s.


Covid-19 did not help matters


The Covid-19 pandemic saw this disparity worsen. A report by Rethink Ireland titled “The Impact of Covid-19 On Women’s Economic Mobility” found that the unemployment rate for women rose by 53.8% between July and September 2020, while the unemployment rate for men increased by 23%.


Additionally, 71% of women during the pandemic were providing care for children, adults, or both in their own home. According to CSO data quoted in the Irish Life report, 445,500 women identified themselves as carers in contrast to 9,200 men.


What can I do?


The Gender Pay Gap reveals that, on average, women are paid less than men. Take a close look at your income, consider your earning potential, and determine if you should be earning more. This could involve looking for a pay raise, seeking a promotion, or exploring new job opportunities.


    • If you are taking a break from work to raise children, stay connected to your professional network. In your free time (if you have any!), consider ways to keep your skills up to date or learn new ones, such as by taking online training courses.


    • When you’re applying for jobs, ask about their policies around parental leave. Make sure that both you and your partner take advantage of this parental leave if it’s offered – it’s astonishing how few men realise they have paternity leave allowances, or simply don’t take it.


    • If you’re an employer, look into how you could offer extra support to your female employees. At Metis Ireland, we recently introduced paid parental benefit, and we continue to pay employer pension contributions throughout employees’ parental leave.


    • Look at your savings – research has shown that women are more likely than men to keep savings in cash which, as we’ve discussed at length lately, leaves it exposed to the effects of inflation.


    • Get clued up. Being financially literate can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed by finances and grow your wealth. Knowing about all financial matters that could affect you is important to ensure that you feel in control of your finances. There are lots of excellent resources available on social media for a high-level view, but speak to an adviser for anything more in depth.


Talk to us


Regardless of your age, it’s never too late or too early to start your pension journey or put a financial plan in place. It’s important for women to know about every financial product linked to their household, whether you are single, married, or divorced.


Speaking to a financial planner can help you make sure your finances are set up to support your future life goals.


If you’d like to find out more about how we could help, please do give us a call on 01 908 1500 or email us at


Sinéad Clinton Caldas
Head of Compliance



Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

All content provided in these blog posts is intended for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as financial advice. You should always engage the services of a fully qualified financial adviser before entering any financial contract. Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland will not be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of reading these blog posts.