Old-age protection for women in the Spanish pension system


  • The author thanks María Ángeles Tortosa for valuable technical assistance and comments and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions and remarks. The usual caveat applies.

Address for correspondence: Concha Salvador Cifre, Departamento de Economía Aplicada, Universitat de València, Facultat d'Economía, Campus dels Tarongers, 46022 Valencia, Spain; Email: Concha.Salvador@uv.es.


The example of Spain confirms the common view that contributory pension systems reproduce inequalities between the sexes that result from the nature of labour market structures and the sharing of family responsibilities. In general, women who stay at home are not entitled to their own pensions and are dependent on benefits of lower value such as survivors' pensions (derived entitlements) or non-contributory pensions. In turn, women who work outside the home accrue lower entitlements than men and, consequently, lower old-age or disability pensions (personal entitlements). The purpose of this article is to examine the figures for pension distribution by sex in Spain, review some of the pension policies that have been implemented since 2000, and propose direct action for progress in the transition from derived entitlements to personal entitlements. These proposals are designed to promote sex equality, defined as the right to equal well-being and financial security in old age.