Among full-time wage and salary workers aged 21 to 64, slightly more than 54% of women participate in a retirement plan, compared to just over 51% of men, a new study finds.

However, women participate in a plan at an overall lower level than men, since more women than men tend to work part-time and part-year, notes the Employee Benefits Research Institute, Washington, which did the study.

Among all wage and salary workers, 44.9% of women participated in a retirement plan in 2006. Of men in that group, 46.2% participated.

The proportion of women wage and salary workers ages 21 to 64 taking part in a plan was higher than for men across all earnings levels, except for the very lowest earners (less than $5,000 in annual earnings), EBRI found.

Overall in 2006, participation in employment-based retirement plans fell to 53% among full-time, full-year wage and salary workers ages 21 to 64, from 55% in 2005.