POLAND - Poland's ombudsman has declared differing retirement ages for men and women is unconstitutional and is challenging it in the Constitutional Court.

Men currently retire at 65 and women at 60 in Poland, but the ombudsman, who is tasked with civil rights protection, is now pursuing a legal line to equalise the disparity.

Marek Góra, a professor at the Warsaw School of Economics and one of the fathers of Poland's pension reform, told IPE "the challenge will create pressure to change this unacceptable situation".

"The equalisation of the retirement age will not be easy, it will have to be done step by step," he added. "But what matters is that the law should be on the same side as the economic common sense."

Góra said: "It is very difficult to have annuities that are unisex, but there is a growing amount of support for unisex tables. And it is very difficult to develop them if retirements ages are different."

Góra added the idea was not necessarily to raise the retirement age of women to 65.

"Equalising the retirement age is separate from raising it," he explained. "We have to have the same age for both genders in order for them to have the same rights within the system."

He added people would have to work longer anyway because of longevity developments and demographic issues.

"These factors are important for postponing retirement but it is not the same problem as equalising the retirement age," he said.