The differences between men and women with regard to lifespan, lifestyles, income and attitudes can have a negative effect on a woman's financial position.
Women live about five to seven years longer than men on the average and tend to marry men older than themselves. They are, therefore, much more likely to be living on their own in retirement than men. Living costs for a single person are more than half the living costs of a couple so women are more likely to be poor in retirement.
During their working lives, women earn on the average less than men so it is harder for single women to save for unexpected expenses, their financial goals or retirement.
Many relationships today end in separation or divorce, often leaving women with a lower standard of living and a high economic burden.
Women's careers are more likely to be interrupted by child-rearing or caring for elderly parents.
It has been said that for every year a woman stays home to look after a child, she must work five extra years to recover lost income, retirement savings and career promotions.
Anecdotally, as the baby boomers move into their 50s and 60s there is a growing number of women who left school in an era when career and income expectations for women were low, who have been through a relationship breakdown and perhaps a redundancy, and who are about to enter retirement living in rental accommodation or with a mortgage and no savings.
Women need to take steps to avoid ending their lives being poor and should not rely on some Prince Charming or the government to take care of them.
Liz Koh is an authorised financial adviser. The advice given here is general and doesn't constitute specific advice to any person. A free disclosure statement can be obtained by calling 0800 273 847.