Women poverty

Calls for better super system for women

There are calls for the government to do more to boost the superannuation savings of women.

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The super system needs changing because there are still too many women not being paid enough superannuation.

Whether it’s because women are taking career breaks to have kids, or they are earning less and working in casual or part-time employment, the retirement savings gap between men and women shows Australia has a problem.

But to date, the focus on improving the superannuation system has failed to adequately address the inequity that penalises women for the caring decisions they make.

Speaking at the launch of the new Women in Super (WIS) Make Super Fair campaign, National Chair Cate Wood said the crisis in retirement outcomes for women warranted an urgent rethink of how the superannuation system can better deliver for half of the population.

The WIS has now called on the federal government to do more to boost the superannuation accounts of low income earners and in particular women.

“When around 40 per cent of older single retired women live in poverty, we need to stop and say enough is enough,” said Ms Wood.

“We must do better than a system that sees women retiring with 47 per cent less than men.

“This is a crisis and unless we act now we will be leaving a tragic legacy for younger women.

“It is not fair or reasonable to simply tell women to fix the problem themselves. We need to get the basics right.”

WIS is calling for the immediate implementation of the following focused policy measures that will change the superannuation system so that it delivers better outcomes for women and low income earners:

  • Annual $1000 super contribution to provide a fair share of support for low income earners, up to a super balance of $100,0001
  • No further delay in increasing super contributions to 12 per cent
  • Pay super on Paid Parental Leave
  • Remove the $450 monthly income threshold on super contributions which sees over 220,000 women per year miss out on super contributions
  • Require Government to undertake and publish a gender impact statement for any changes to age pension or retirement income policy; ongoing tracking by WGEA of women’s retirement gap.

Ms Wood said that structural inequity requires structural solutions and all elements of the package are required.

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