Female pensioners collect much less than men

Female pensioners receive significantly less money than men in Sweden and nearly half of them receive a pension that places them below the poverty line, Swedish Radio News reports.

An average female retiree collects only 65 percent of what the average male retiree collects, according to figures from the Swedish Pensions Agency and Statistics Sweden.

One explanation for the difference is the large wage gap between women and men, with women earning about 73 percent of what men make. Another reason is that female-dominated occupations typically pay less than male-dominated ones.

Birgitta Lönnqvist, 75, of Stockholm, said making ends meet on her pension can be difficult.

"I what do I do? You may skimp on things. And I often get help from my daughter," said Lönnqvist, who must survive on SEK 10,000 per month.

Like many other women, Lönnqvist said she stayed at home to care for her children when they were young.

More than half of all Swedish women who retire receive guaranteed pension, with roughly half collecting between SEK 5,000 and 8,000 per month, an range below the Europe Union's definition of poverty.

"It's a result of unequal work," said Maria Hemström-Hemmingsson, head of Sweden's Delegation for Gender Equality in Working Life. She said that women take primary responsibility for the home and children. She added that women on average spend 47 minutes a day doing unpaid work.

"It is not a huge difference. But it actually adds up to seven working weeks in a year, that women work without pay. On average, women and men work as many hours each day, but while men are at work and receive a salary and pension, women are working at home," Hemström-Hemmingsson said.