Gendered Retirement Transitions and the Unequal Distribution of Transitional Risks
This paper asks how institutionalized pathways affect retirement experiences and transitional practices of older men and women, linking quantitative data from the German Survey of Transitions and Old Age Potentials to a qualitative longitudinal study that follows 15 older Germans throughout their retirement process. Other than most research it considers non-normative types of transitions, as retiring from unemployment or domestic work. Results show that differences in retirement experiences are less due to gender but gendered pathways into retirement. For example, the transition experience is more strainful for women transiting from gainful employment than men, but less for women transiting from domestic work. We also find gendered retirement roles that are shaped by gendered lifecourses: Men tend to increase involvement with grandchildren after retirement, as many feel they have not spent enough time with their children, whereas women aim to make up for limited chances to engage in education or leisure activities.
In the future, more emphasis should be placed on the retirement transitions of Baby Boomer women, who are increasingly part of the labour force, and the potential risks they entail for quality of life in older age.