The effects of the financial market meltdown are still unfolding, as companies cut benefits and unemployment stagnates. Many women are responding by shouldering more financial responsibility in their families, which explain why they are so driven to learn more about retirement.

In a study released Friday, Hartford found that 69% of women respondents boosted their understanding of retirement benefits, up from 56% last year. That is the biggest increase in retirement savings knowledge that The Hartford has seen from any segmented group in the study since it began doing the survey three years ago. Men’s understanding improved to 83%, from 75% a year ago, and overall, 76% of respondents said they either “completely” or “mostly” understood their retirement benefits in 2010, compared with 65% in 2009. The Hartford conducted “Retirement and Recession Study” in March, surveying 1,000 consumers online.

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