Women’s Equality Party: Pensions pay gap forces women into poverty

old woman sad about pensions
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The Women’s Equality Party is the latest political force to ask the government to close the pensions gender pay gap.

According to recent research conducted by Mercer, women can expect to receive 40 per cent less than men in their retirement. This difference means that the pensions pay gap is twice as large as the wage gap.

The 39.5 per cent pensions gap is largely caused by women living longer, undertaking more part-time work and career breaks to care for family.

The WEP have said that the gap is due to successive government failing to invest in giving women equal opportunities to work and save.

WEP Leader, Sophie Walker said, “Today, we see the direct result of a political failure to act on the pension gap.”

“Women’s pension poverty is unequal and unfair.”

“WE have long called for a universal flat rate of pension tax relief to encourage women to save, that would in turn fund free childcare.”

“It’s time for an end to gender-blind policy-making.”

“Young women come out of our education system into jobs that often pay less.”

“They are then far more likely to take on caring responsibilities that take them out of the workforce entirely or see them move into lower paid and part-time roles.”

“In addition, women often pay for childcare from their take-home pay, and therefore save less.”

“Often those in work are less likely to benefit from auto-enrolment.”

“The current pension system fails to see this, leaving women less able to contribute to and claim a decent pension.”

“It is simply not fair that people who earn more get a higher pension top-up from the tax man.”

She concluded, “It’s time for a policy making that really sees women.”

Pension pay gap has long been on women’s rights campaigners agenda. The WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) Campaign is currently fighting for all women born in the 1950s who have been affected by the pension reforms.

In September 2015, the government announced its plans for a flat rate pension, which was expected to give recipients around £148 a week. However, the news was branded as a ‘double betrayal’ for women due also to a rise in women’s retirement age. Women are having to work for longer and are now receiving less money in return.

Responding to the Queen’s Speech, WASPI urged the government to resolve the issues arising from the lack of notice to women about the changes to their State Pension Age.

WASPI Director, Jane Cowley said, “We were very disappointed that the Government made no mention of WASPI women in the Queen’s Speech…”

“…There has been no recognition from the Government of the severe financial hardship faced by women across the country because of the mismanagement of changes to the state pension age.”

The European Parliament also recently voted through a report on the need for an EU strategy to eradicate and prevent the gender pension gap. The report calls for an adequate minimum pension and that social protection measures are brought in so that pensions are in line with the equal pay for equal work principle.

To find out more about pensions and your eligibility, click here.

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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