The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the phenomenon of increasing gender inequalities that happen at old age regarding women’s pension. Moving from recent life-course theories and studies, this study analyzes the reasons behind gender-biased pension levels and how their cumulative effects result in (continuous) significant gender gaps. The article presents a European overview of pension gender gap, focusing on family and work-life issues in Italy. This is one of the first critical reviews of the small but growing literature and national data concerning the effect of gender inequalities related to pension gaps in Italy. In the past, research on the balance of welfare provision between State, family, and market has ignored gender, while more recent studies have barely explored how gender roles, changing over time, interact with the shifts in pension policies. Considering the effects of work-life balance policies since the 2000 Lisbon agenda process and its development, the study especially focuses on the Italian case within the European context. The article examines how the choices in work-life balance policies vary between different national contexts and welfare regimes, by highlighting the Italian case. In this country, welfare and social policy regimes remain very unbalanced, showing a lack of awareness of family and women’s needs, as in many Southern countries, and Italy is not able to give appropriate answers to these problems and to the question of the growing gender gap. This article finally shows the poignancy of structural and cultural reasons for gender differentiated pension levels in Italy, within the European context, according to patterns of employment, marital, and maternal status between earlier and later generations of women.
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