Men Live 79% as Many Years in Retirement as Women

The average man lives significantly fewer years in retirement than the average woman. This happens because men have a lower life expectancy than women in practically every country in the world, and because the age of retirement is higher for men than women in some countries (counter-intuitively, given the life expectancy gap).

(Length: 400 words.)

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), a group made up of 35 mostly highly-developed market economies (pictured below), keeps data on this. The OECD average in 2014 was 17.6 years of retirement for men and 22.3 years of retirement for women, giving the 79% figure in the title.


Here are the figures for six particular OECD countries of interest.

U.S. Canada U.K. Germany Australia France
Men’s Years 17.1 18.8 18.8 19.4 18.8 23.0
Women’s Years 20.7 23.7 22.7 22.8 23.7 27.2
Percentage 83% 79% 83% 85% 79% 85%

Note that this does not count people who leave the labour market before the age of 40, including many mothers with young children. The OECD thus cautions that their figures under-estimate how many years of retirement women have:

This indicator does not, therefore, capture the labour market behaviour of all women of working age, which leads to an under-estimation of the expected duration of retirement for women. The magnitude of this effect varies across countries.

(It’s unclear whether they mean that a stay-at-home parent would count as retired, which wouldn’t be sensible, or they mean we don’t know what happens when their children turn 18 and they can either retire or continue working with a paid job.)

The OECD data set also includes four major non-OECD countries, where the gender gap in years of retirement is much bigger. (Less developed countries appear more likely to have a gender gap in retirement age—see “Retirement age” on Wikipedia.)

China Brazil Russia South Africa
Men’s Years 13.2 13.4 13.0 9.6
Women’s Years 20.4 19.9 19.9 16.3
Percentage 65% 67% 65% 59%

(All figures come from, under headers: “Social Protection and Well-being” > “Gender” > “Employment” > “Expected number of years in retirement, by sex”.)

Interestingly, simply calculating years of retirement using retirement age and life expectancy by country from Wikipedia actually yields substantially larger gender gaps in these non-OECD countries. This method tells us that Russian men get not 65% but a mere 24% of Russian women’s retirement years. The reason for the discrepancy between the OECD and this method is unclear, but I’ll defer to the OECD’s presumably more sophisticated method of calculation and just note the difference here at the end.

Country Life Expectancy Retirement Age Years of Retirement
Men Women Men Women Men Women Percentage
Russia 65 76 60 55 5 21 24%
Brazil 71 79 65 60 6 19 32%

“The Future is Female”: The Bleak Outlook for Male Employment and Education

There are disturbing trends of male underachievement in employment and education that, if left to continue, will leave men in a very bad place. Economist Larry Summers estimates that by 2050, more than 1 in 3 men aged 25-54 will be out of work in America (compared to 1 in 10 in the 1970s). The BBC reports that current trends in Britain suggest that a girl born in 2016 will be 75% more likely to go to university than a boy. Hillary Clinton might just be right when she said that “the future is female”.

Continue reading ““The Future is Female”: The Bleak Outlook for Male Employment and Education”

Justice System Discrimination and the Myth That Sexism Against Men Isn’t “Institutional”

The typical method of dismissing sexism against men is to say it isn’t “institutional”. This usually means claiming that prejudice and discrimination against men occur as isolated events by individuals, without backing of institutional power, and with limited ability to do harm. A clear counterexample is that the criminal justice system is more severe on men than on women in numerous ways, including likelihood of arrest, chance of pretrial detention, bail amount, and chance and length of jail-time. And many are calling for even more special concern and treatment for women in the justice system.

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Men’s Lives Matter Less? “Among the Dead Were Women and Children”

News organizations and human rights groups reporting on tragic events commonly single out the victimization of certain groups (based on gender, nationality, religion, age, etc.) as especially noteworthy. Sometimes this is based on the circumstances of the incident, like if a group is disproportionately targeted or affected (“Gunmen shot dead 11 people, mostly Christians, in central Syria on Saturday”). Other times it is based on properties of the group, such as if they’re more relatable to the audience (“At least 2 Americans among the dead in Nice, France attack” in an American outlet).

Singling out “women and children” is especially common in this reporting. Sometimes it happens when they’re disproportionately affected (“Dozens killed in Aleppo; mostly women and children among the dead”), but even when men are disproportionately affected—which is very often—it’s still generally “women and children” whose victimization is singled out. I consider this an example of male disposability and finding the suffering/death of men less distressing than that of women (and children).

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Paternity Fraud as a Violation of Men’s Reproductive Rights?

Men’s and women’s reproductive systems are different, and so a full discussion of reproductive rights needs to take into account each gender’s unique concerns. Being the ones to carry the child gives women unique concerns involving the physical/medical consequences of pregnancy, but not being the ones to carry the child gives men unique concerns as well, namely paternal uncertainty—men are at a natural disadvantage when it comes to knowing if the child is theirs. This page looks into how big of a problem this is, and what we can do to address this unique reproductive concern for men.

Continue reading “Paternity Fraud as a Violation of Men’s Reproductive Rights?”

Defining, Demonstrating, and Understanding Male Disposability

Male disposability is our society’s tendency to have less concern for the safety and well-being of men than of women. The concept is central to many men’s advocates’ critiques of society similarly to how women’s traditional lack of access to power (and their current lower levels of participation in it) are central to most feminist critiques of society. This page is a primer on male disposability: what it means (and doesn’t mean), the evidence for its existence, whether it should exist, etc.

(Cet article est également disponible en français.)

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