Society: Women caught in poverty trap

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The Independent Online
Women continue to face a life of "poverty", receiving just half of men's average incomes, according to a report today.

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) said that women aged over 40 received less than half of men's income, but did not qualify for social security benefits in many cases. Women's lower pay made it harder for them to safeguard their income when out of work and those with caring responsibilities are further penalised because if they take a career break to look after a member of their family, it is difficult for them to make adequate pension arrangements, said the report. "At the moment, women with caring responsibilities bear the brunt of the mismatch between their work patterns and the benefit system," said Kamlesh Bahl, chairwoman of the EOC.