Scroll down to Part 2 of this WUNRN Release - ILO Report on Action Needed to Provide Jobs & Social Protection for Growing & Ageing Populations - Older Women





Role of Non-Contributory Pensions or Social Pensions in Reducing Extreme Poverty and Contributing to the Realization of Human Rights of Older Persons


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II Poverty and Old Age

   C. Poverty Among Older Women


       19. Older women are disproportionately disadvantaged: They are marginalized due

             to their age and tend to be poorer than men. Because of gendered discrimination

             patterns throughout their life, women are often in a situation where they have

             accumulated lesser wealth than men. Cultural practices of early marriage and

             women's longer life expectancy than men worldwide, lead to a situation where

             women are more likely to be widows than men, and being widowed puts older

             women at higher risk of being poor. In many countries, women have limited access

             to land and other assets.......


       20. Most older women are excluded from formal social security and health insurance

             schemes as these are linked to paid, formal-sector employment. In developing

             countries, the great majority of women work all their lives in the informal sector

             or in unpaid activities. In developed countries too, older women are more likely

             than men to be poor at old age......Women are less likely to receive a large

             contributory pension since they are more likely to have stopped work at some

             point over their lifetime to take on the burden of child rearing and are also more

             likely to have received lesser wages for their work than men.


       21. Older women are not only more likely to be poorer than men, but they are also

             likely to be burdened with caregiving responsibilities for other family members,

             especially their grandchildren. In some countries, accusations of witchcraft

             against poor older women are common, revcealing worrying discriminative patterns.


   V. Expanding Social Security in Old Age in the Context of a Human Rights Framework

        I. Ensuring Gender Equality


           95. Non-contributory pensions are the most efficient means of ensuring the right

                 to social security for older women and compensating them for their years

                 of unpaid or inadequately paid work. However, to ensure equal access by

                 women to a social pension, special measures must be implemented to

                 overcome possible barriers to older women caused by structural discrimination,

                 such as lack of access to adequate documentation and identification,

                 difficulties to approach administrations, or lack of gender sensitive social




ILO - International Labour Organization





A report prepared for the ILO/ILC presented the scale of the challenge, in a context in which the world’s population will surpass 9 billion by 2050 and the number of people aged 60 years and over will have tripled.


Three-quarters of older persons will be living in what are now developing countries and the majority will be women.

In addition, by 2050 there will be only four people of working age for every person over 65, compared to nine in the year 2000. This new demographic context, the report warns, has profound implications for labour markets, social security systems, employment and economic development.


Direct Link to Full 124-Page ILO 2013 Report: