Closing the gender gap

The difference

When it comes to earning power and retirement savings, the average Australian woman’s experience is vastly different from the man’s.

Super balances and payouts for women are roughly half of men’s, and women generally have less earning power. With less money and longer life expectancies, women need to make the most of every opportunity to save for their future and increase their financial security.

What causes the gender gap?

  1.  Women continue to earn less than men, with female managers earning about 25 per cent less than their male counterparts do.
  2.  Men are also twice as likely to get into management, and if woman have young children, their odds are even more reduced. [1]
  3.  Women continue to spend more time in unpaid domestic, childcare and voluntary work than men.
  4.  Women are more likely to be engaged in casual and part time work.
  5.  Because the current superannuation system is linked to paid work, women are overwhelmingly disadvantaged as a result.

What does this mean for you?

“The gap has serious implications for women, particularly the likelihood of sole reliance on the Age Pension and subsequently, an acute vulnerability to poverty in retirement.”

- Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner.

Nowadays, divorce, widowhood and other unforeseen circumstances mean it is wiser to plan independently for your retirement, rather than rely on someone else - who may not be around - to take care of things. This is equally important for both single women and women with partners. A man is not a financial plan! If you think this won’t happen to you, the Australian Government reports that the superannuation gender gap has led to many women being forced to rely upon the Age Pension for their retirement income.

  • Nearly 60% of all Age Pensioners are women [2].
  • 73% of those who receive the single rate of the Age Pension are women [3].

Sources

[1] Watson, Ian, ‘Decomposing the Gender Pay Gap in the Australian Managerial Labour Market, Australian Journal of Labour Economics’, Volume 13, Number 1,  pp 49 – 79, Macquarie University, 2010 [2] Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Pension Review Background Paper, Secretary of FaHCSIA, Dr Jeff Harmer, 2008 [3] Robert Tanton, Yogi Vidyattama, Justine McNamara, Quoc Ngu Vu and Ann Harding, ‘Old, Single and Poor: Using Microsimulation and Microdata to Analyse Poverty and the Impact of Policy Change Among older Australians’, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra, 2008

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