Gender equality: social security
Gender equality may be achieved by incorporating it into all areas of life, including in ways how families are built and family duties divided that influences opportunities to integrate into the labour market and size of various benefits received. National policies and European directives also should facilitate equality by working out mechanisms reducing social inequality and poverty risks.
At the beginning of 2022, 337.4 thousand men and 344.8 thousand women were married. The average age of males at first marriage accounted for 33.3 years and of females for 31.2 years; the indicator has risen by four years since 2010. In 2021, 31 % of males and 32 % of females concluded marriage repeatedly.
The number of marriages concluded in younger age groups is declining every year. Out of all marriages concluded in 2021, 5.2 % of males and 11.7 % of females were aged 24 and younger (16 % and 29 % in 2010; 30 % and 45 % in 2000, respectively).
Families having children
Results of the European Union Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey show that in 2021 in Latvia there were 34.6 thousand households consisting of one adult with one or more children (4.2 % of all households).
Childcare responsibilities in divorced marriages mainly are overtaken by females (88.0 %). However, unequal distribution of household duties may be observed also in other families.
When asked about frequency of doing housework (cooking and/or housekeeping), 93 % of Latvian women and 75 % of men indicated that do it at least several times a week.
Latvian legislation provides both mother and father for receiving birth allowance and paid leave after childbirth. As the birth rate decreased, the number of parents who were granted maternity and paternity benefits due to the birth of a child decreased in 2022. Compared to 2016 (when the highest number of granted maternity and paternity benefits was reached), the number of recipients of maternity benefits decreased by 23.4 %, while the number of recipients of paternity benefits decreased by 18.7 %.
Long-term childcare leave and frequent incapacity for work lead to regular breaks in being on the labour market, which challenges the competitive ability and professional development. Childcare benefit for a child aged 1.5–2 years more often is received by females – 84.1 % of women and 15.9 % of men in 2022.
Both - employed (employees or self-employed) and unemployed parents (not a socially insured person) are entitled to childcare benefits. In 2022, 39.0 thousand people received childcare benefit for a child under 1.5 years of age, 5.3 thousand of them, were not socially insured and were granted only childcare benefit because they were not entitled to parental benefit1. Compared to 2016, the number of parents who are not socially insured is decreasing: from 19.2 % in 2016 to 13.6 % of parents in 2022. Females are more likely to receive childcare benefits for children under 1.5 years of age from parents who were not socially insured: in 2022, 93.0 % of the recipients were women and only 7.0 % were men.
Although the total number of fathers going on leave after receiving parental benefit for childcare (parental childcare benefit for a child up to 1 year of age and 1.5 years of age) has decreased in 2022, there is an increase in the percentage of fathers receiving parental childcare benefit for child up to 1 year of age (in 2021 – 42.2 % males; in 2022 – 42.6 % males). The proportionally largest number of fathers receiving parental benefit was in 2016, when 20 % of men received the benefit (in 2022 – 16.7 % of men).
Regardless of the fact that in case of child’s sickness the number of fathers staying at home due to this reason has gone up over the past five years, mothers still apply for the sick leave certificate B more often. In 20222, 68.1. % of females and 31.9 % of males received a benefit for nursing an ill child.
Trusteeship for persons with limited capacity to act
Persons with mental or other health problems whose capacity to act has been restricted by a court as well as persons whose capacity to act has been restricted due to careless or wasteful life, excessive use of alcohol or other intoxicating substances and other reasons3 are placed under trusteeship. Since 2013, the number of persons under trusteeship has increased by 23 %, reaching 3 641 persons at the end of 2022 (2 961 persons in 2013). On the other hand, the number of persons with restricted capacity to act placed under trusteeship during year, has increased by 71 % to 431 persons (in 2013 – 252 persons).
Relatives and spouses are most often appointed as trustees, and when looking at data on trustees by gender, there are significant gender differences between them. At the end of 2022, 2 672 or 83.3 % of total trustees were females and 535 or 16.7 % were males. Also, trustees appointed during the year were mostly females - in 2022, 33 or 82 % of trustees were females and 73 or 18 % were males.
In 2022, the size of pensions paid to men was 11.3 % higher than that paid to women (EUR 481.96 were paid to males and EUR 433.22 to females).
Comparison of the size of granted pensions shows that men more commonly receive up to EUR 300 (17.4 % of males and 11.8 % of females) and pensions exceeding EUR 500 (49.8 % of males and 37.8 % of females), while women more often receive EUR 300–500 (50.4 % of females and 32.8 % of males).
As of 1 January 2019, a new allowance has been introduced for the spouse of the deceased pension recipient in case of death of the pension recipient. In 2022, an average of 6.5 thousand persons per month received allowance for the spouse of a deceased pension recipient (6.4 thousand in 2021). Distribution of allowances by gender were 4.7 thousand or 72.7 % of women and 1.8 thousand or 27.3 % of men (in 2021: 4.7 thousand or 72.6 % of women; 1.8 thousand or 27.4 % of men).
Analysis of the national statutory and actual retirement age shows that both genders prefer to retire earlier. In 2022, when statutory age accounted for 64 years and 3 months, women on average retired at the age of 63.64 while men at the age of 63.71. During the last eleven years, irrespective or the rise in the statutory retirement age of 2 years and 3 months, the actual retirement age has grown.
Just like in Latvia, also in other EU countries (e.g., Lithuania, Bulgaria, the Netherlands) retirement age is growing gradually, and majority of the countries is moving towards common retirement age for both genders.
Retirement age in the EU varies between 60 and 67 years. The highest retirement age is recorded in Sweden, Germany and Greece (all of which have set equal retirement age for both genders). In countries having different retirement age, females usually have a right to retire earlier.
Gender Equality Index – time
Latvian Gender Equality Index4 calculated by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) in the domain Time, which measures gender inequalities in allocation of time spent doing care and domestic work and social activities, is assessed with 65.8 points, which is really close to the EU average (64.9). Latvian males more often than males in other EU countries engage in housework, whereas less frequently in social and cultural life.
1If the parent is a socially insured person (employed), parental benefit and childcare benefit are granted for the care of the same child at the same time.
2If the parent is a socially insured person (working), then parental allowance and child care allowance are granted simultaneously for the care of the same child.
3An Orphan's and Custody Court, in accordance with a court ruling on establishment of trusteeship, shall appoint a trustee: to a person with mental or other health disorders, whose capacity to act has been restricted by the court; to a person upon whom the court has established temporary trusteeship; to a person whose capacity to act has been restricted by the court due to dissolute or spendthrift lifestyle, as well as due to the excessive use of alcohol or other intoxicating substances; to the property of an absent or missing person; for the execution of a will.
4The index rating varies between 1 and 100, where 1 stands for absolute gender inequality and 100 for full gender equality.
At-risk-of-poverty rate by age and sex
Total population at risk of poverty – Eurostat
Households consisting of one adult with children by sex of the adult – Eurostat
Maternity and paternity benefits
Frequency of caring for and/or educating your children – Eurofound
Frequency of cooking and/or housework – Eurofound
Social and cultural participation by sex
Average size of old-age and disability pensions paid by sex (euros)
Gender Equality Index, domain Time – EIGE