Gender Lens in Defined Contribution (DC) Plans

We have embarked on a series of studies to understand potential gender differences in financial behavior of plan participants. These include topics such as retirement, stock ownership, health and education.


The adverse economic consequences of the pandemic disproportionally affected women. Women have dropped out of the workforce at record numbers to take on additional caregiving responsibilities. Our studies using data from 2019 to 2023 have shown that:


  • Participation rates of women remain lower than those of men.
  • Women and men contribute at the same rates.
  • Women continue to invest more conservatively. However, both women's and men's allocations to equity have increased.
  • Women continue to claim hardship at greater rates and have higher loan-to-balance ratios than to men.
  • 401(k) balances of women continue to lag those of men.

Read our study for a more in-depth look at these findings.

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