The Citizens' Assembly has heard calls to address the gender gap in pensions.

The Assembly is discussing the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population for a second weekend.

The Chief Commissioner of Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Emily Logan, said there is a 37% gap between the pensions women get and those that men receive.

She said this is because women often take time out of paid employment to look after children or care for other relatives.

She said workers in low paid or precarious work who are at a disadvantage during their working life are inevitably worse off when they retire.

Justin Moran of Age Action said that last year in 2016 the majority of men who applied for a state pension received the maximum payment but the majority of women received a payment at or below the level which left them at risk of poverty.

The Assembly also heard that the majority of people will rely on the state pension when they retire and that for all but the richest 30% of pensioners, most of their income will come from the social welfare payments.

Andrew Nugent of the Pension Authority told the Assembly that most people in private employment are not in a pension scheme.

The target under the National Pensions Policy Initiative was to have 70% of workers in a scheme but by the end of 2015, the figure was 46.7% and that had fallen from 56% in 2005.

Alan Barrett of the ESRI told the Assembly that whereas in the past many people's health did decline when they got into their 60s, people are now living longer and healthier lives and there is a case for people working beyond 65.

But he did caution against complete abolition of mandatory retirement age as he said anti-age discrimination laws would make it very difficult for employers to let go of workers whose performance has declined because of their age.

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office shows that Ireland’s population is ageing and as it does the issues of pensions and income for older people is becoming more urgent.

But there was some good news at today's meeting. Christine McGarrigle of the Irish Longitudinal Study on ageing said that studies have found that quality of life increases from age 50 onwards and peaks at around 66-68 and although it declines after that it does not fall below the level it was at 50 until age 84.

The Assembly will conclude tomorrow with a vote on recommendations for the Oireachtas.