Questioning the retirement age

By Lisa Carducci
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, March 4, 2011
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In Canada, the retirement age for both genders is 65. People who, by their own choice, retire earlier must generally wait to the age of 65 for getting their pension.

When I arrived in China, I made a double amazing discovery: The age was different for men and women, and Chinese retired as early as 60 and 55 respectively. I thought – at that time – that was nice that people retire when they are still young and have the strength for travelling, learning painting, reading all the books they had no time to read before, and meeting with friends.

I also thought that women were advantaged by the system as they could enjoy a free life when they five years younger than their male counterparts. This might have been OK 25 years ago, but today, people have an easier life and eat better, and they are still vigorous at 60. What if they are forced to retire?

Nowadays, I see women's retirement at 55 as a segregationist measure: women are pushed out of the labor market when they are still capable, and at an age when they could fully use their work experience and skills. This measure deprives society of talent on the one hand, and, on the other hand, prevents women from getting a higher pension when they eventually retire.

Something is wrong with the system, as some professionals such as hematologists or cardiologists are obliged by their employer to continue to work even past 70 years old, even if they are tired and ill, because of a staff shortage in the profession.

The retirement age should be kept low (say 60) as the work market must absorb the huge number of young people who are coming of working age.

It is one thing to allow early retirement; it is quite another thing to force people to retire. I think major changes should be implemented. First: the retirement age should be the same for men and women. Second: people should be free to continue working three to five more years if they wish. Third: no one should be forced to work after they reach retirement age.

The author is a freelance writer based in Beijing.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of


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