The squeeze on household budgets has led to women placing a smaller share of their income into pension savings, but men are managing to put a larger proportion of their income aside, a study has suggested.
The gender gap has widened over the past year with the average amount men are putting aside after tax increasing from 9.7% to 10.2%, but for women there has been a reduction from 8.8% to 7.5%, Halifax found.
Male pensioners already tend to have higher incomes than female pensioners. Single male pensioners had an average net income after housing costs of £240 per week in 2009/10 compared with £208 for single women pensioners, the study said.
Women were more likely than men to say they were spending a lot more on household groceries then they were a year ago, at 14% compared with 8% of men, the study said. High inflation has meant that the cost of basic goods has not kept up with wage increases, although there are signs of the pressure lifting as inflation eases off.
Women were also more likely than men to say they are spending less on going out and treating themselves, as well as less on clothes, than they were a year ago.
Martin Ellis, an economist at Halifax, said: "The fall in the amount women are saving towards a pension compared with the increase by men over the past year is likely to reflect the finding that fewer women than men are reporting that their current financial circumstances are comfortable, with more women are also reporting that money is tight.
"Women are therefore reacting to these conditions and reducing the amount that they are putting into their pensions."
The findings come just a few months before the Government's landmark scheme to tackle the pension savings crisis by automatically placing up to 10 million people in workplace pension schemes, beginning this October.
Men continue to be typically paid more than women, but the gap has narrowed over the past decade, as women's earnings have risen at a faster rate.
Women's earnings have increased by 43%, on average in the last 10 years compared with a 36% rise for men, although a man working full-time continues to be paid "significantly" more than a woman, the study said. In 2011, average male earnings were £36,511 - 35% higher than average female earnings of £27,006.