Gender distinction in id cards and in pensions must be eliminated - IDESA

Report Nº: 92312/08/2021

Gender distinction in id cards and in pensions must be eliminated

The government presented the non-binary document. At the same time, it modified by decree the pension law, deepening the differences between genders. These decisions are contradictory and much improvised. Almost immediately, rejections appeared and enormous costs will be incurred in the future.

The national government issued an Emergency Decree (DNU) modifying the parameters of the pension system. The norm presents 75 arguments and was published on a Saturday, possibly trying to conceal the irregularity of changing structural pension rules with such a weak legal instrument.

Specifically, the DNU establishes that 1 year of pension contribution will be recognized to women for each child born alive. If the child is adopted, it will be 2 years. If the woman also received the Universal Child Allowance (AUH) for at least one year, 2 more years of contributions will be added to the corresponding ones. The objective is to compensate for the inequity that occurs when women stop saving pension contributions due to maternity.

There are strong arguments in favor of the recognition of years of contribution for children. In developed countries, it is a solved issue. The question is whether the design chosen by the Argentine government will be effective. In this regard, according to information published by the Social Security Secretary, between 2018 and 2020, about 286 thousand women have retired, of which:

  • 83% accessed the benefit without complying with the minimum of 30 years of contributions thanks to the Moratoriums.
  • Of these women, approximately 8% retired with more than 20 years of contributions “buying” years of service with the Moratoria.
  • The remaining 92% retired with less than 20 years of contributions “buying” the rest with the Moratoria.

These data show that most women reach retirement age with very few years of contributions. Therefore, recognizing 1 or 2 years of contributions per child will not change their situation since they will not reach the 30 years of contributions required by the current pension law. The DNU ends up in a very ostentatious announcement which is at odds with the deteriorated labor situation suffered by women.

At the same time, the government announced that identity cards must bear an “X” when the person does not recognize him/herself as male or female. This implies that people who do not wish to define their sex will have to apply for a new birth certificate at the Civil Registry and, with it, request a change of ID card. This procedure will take a lot of time and effort to implement. Even assuming high professionalism and speed in the implementation, it will still be costly, bureaucratic, and woeful for the people. This is what underlies the surprising inquiry of one of the “beneficiaries” of the “X”, who were participating in the official announcement, to the president.

The designs of the contribution recognition for women and the non-binary identity reveal much improvisation. It would have been more sound and effective to eliminate the distinction of sexes in the identity. In other words, the ID should not define gender and the retirement age should be unified at 65 years of age. For the contribution recognition to be effective, pension benefit should be proportional to the years of contributions (that is to say, to flex the current rigid requirement of at least 30 years of contributions). Thus, there will be no gender distinctions and effective pension recognition for those who raised children.

Improvisation in public policy imposes high social costs. The identification with the “X” does not solve the problem of those who do not want to recognize sex. The DNU modifying the pension law does not solve the problem of the lack of recognition for children. At the same time, new sources of conflict will arise. For example, for a person with an “X” on his/her ID: What pension age will be applied? 65 as for men, 60 as for women, or maybe the average 62 years and 6 months?


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