New research has found that women have been worst affected by austerity measures over the past four years.

The study, published by the Economic and Social Research Institute and the Equality Authority, examined the effect of Budgets between 2009 and 2013 on men and women.

The report found that the impact of austerity measures in recent years on single women and men of working age, including public-sector pay cuts and tax and welfare changes, were broadly similar.

It found average losses in disposable income of close to 10%.

There were losses of about 5% for single people of retirement age.

Couples of working age lost, on average, 12% of disposable income, while retired couples lost just over 4%.

Women in relationships saw sharper losses in individual disposable income compared with men at all income levels, about 14% for women and 9% for men.

According to the ESRI, a key factor is the reduction in child benefit payments, which are typically received by mothers.

Public sector pay changes and other social welfare reductions also had a stronger effect on women.