Non-Contributory Benefits, Pension Re-Reforms and the Social Protection of Older Women in Latin America
Gender inequalities are a key issue for most pension systems in Latin America. Contributory pension schemes that link benefit entitlements to work and earnings tend to reflect in the benefits they offer the gender gaps that prevail in the labour market. This deepened with the implementation of individual private accounts as part of structural pension reforms in a number of countries. This article evaluates how recent pension policies, including measures geared to coverage expansion and so-called pension ‘re-reforms’, have addressed gender gaps in pensions in four Latin American countries. It shows that the expansion of non-contributory pensions and a greater emphasis on redistribution are important for the protection of older women in a context of gendered labour markets and the unequal distribution of paid and unpaid work between women and men. Looking at the cases of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile, the article identifies progress but also the persistence of gender gaps in pensions and emphasises the need for further measures to promote adequate social protection for older women.