Thursday, October 23, 2014

When should women retire?

A story that I found interesting was published in the Global Times and shows some interesting attitudes toward women and working. It made me wonder if this attitude is prevalent in other cultures.

 A recent survey to discover attitudes to the age of retirement for women, discovered that more than 60 percent of the Shanghai residents questioned disapproved of the idea of women retiring at the same age as men to ensure gender equality.

According to the Shanghai Municipal Statistics Bureau, most of the respondents believed it would be too physically strenuous for women to work after 55 and half of the 770 respondents considered 55 the best age for women to retire.

The retirement age in China is 60 for men and 55 or 50 for women, depending on the nature of job. Male workers engaged in heavy or dangerous work can retire at 55 and female at 45.

What do expats think about men and women retiring at the same age? Is the retirement age in China too high or too low? What is the retirement age in their home countries and how is this handled?

Paul Dodson, from the UK, art teacher

"In the UK, my home country, the state pension age is between 61 and 68, depending on when someone was born and if they're male or female. But the retirement age is not the same as state pension age and anyone can carry on working past the state pension age. Most businesses in the UK don't set a compulsory retirement age for their employees and most people can work for as long as they want to. But there are current plans by the government to rise the state pension age to 70 in line with life expectancy. That would mean that the young people who are currently entering the workforce will have to wait until they are 70 before they can retire on a pension. 

The public's opinion on this subject is divided. Some are worried that the new plans mean that the decision whether to work or not will be taken out of their hands. Others feel that they are prepared to work past the pension age anyway to make their lives more comfortable when they retire.

As for China, I believe the retirement age should depend on the gender and on the nature of job. I also believe that people should be able to decide if they want to retire or keep working past their retirement age."

Andrea Arioli, from Italy, sales associate

"At the moment, in Italy, men in private sectors and everyone else serving in the public sector retire at the age of 65. Women in the private sector retire at the age of 60. But, according to new regulations, from 2015, the retirement age will rise by three years, to 68 and 63 years. 

Currently the retirement age is a matter of a heated debate across Europe, because of an aging population and a rising life expectancy.

I feel the retirement age in China will rise as well in the next few years, as life expectancy is also rising and China, like many European countries, also has the problem of an aging population. Also, public health in China is improving, as are its working conditions. As for the recent survey regarding women's retirement age, I agree with its results. Men and women shouldn't retire at the same age, as is the case in most of the European countries."

Aurelie Perrot, from France, marketing manager

"In France, where I come from, the current retirement age is 60, which is one of the lowest in the European Union. It was changed by President Francois Hollande, after he was elected in 2012. The previous retirement age in France was 62. The new reform wasn't particularly welcomed by the public, especially when most of the other European countries have been pushing retirement ages higher and higher.

I think the retirement age in China, comparing to Western countries, is quite low. I believe China should gradually increase the retirement age, at least to 65. As for the debate whether men and women should retire at the same age, I agree with the majority of the survey respondents, but that might also vary depending on the nature of the job."

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