Gender equality has been at the forefront of many high profile social and economic reforms over the last decade. Although there have been huge strides made to reduce the gender pay gap in particular, this unfortunately hasn’t been properly reflected in legislation surrounding pensions. |
There have been claims that nearly four million women who retired during the past 10 years have been unfairly penalised by recent changes to the law surrounding retirement age. But what can working women do to work for women’s pensions rights?
In 1995, the age that a woman qualified to receive a state pension was raised from 60 to 65. The objective was to bring the qualifying age up to equal that of males by 2020.
Then, in 2011, the Pensions Act saw the process sped up. Female retirement age was to be set to 65 by 2018, and 66 by 2020.
Suddenly, ladies who were born in the 1950s would have to work for far longer before they could retire and their pension planning was thrown into disarray.
Equalising, or Discriminating?
The principle behind these legislation changes appears fair enough, but the speed with which the adjustments took place – in addition to the lack of notice – has led to large outcries from campaign groups.
The Women’s Equality Party (the WE) has argued that this has jeopardised many women’s pension planning, risking their financial security in their later life. Many people were not even aware of the change to their retirement age.
Fighting for Compensation
Calls for compensation for the four million affected by the law have recently been rejected by a judicial review. But the fight continues, and campaign groups such as BackTo60 are not giving up.
The important thing to note is that these campaigners aren’t seeking to reverse the laws and reset the female qualifying age. They simply want to see justice in the form of compensation and ensure that the 1950s women don’t fall into poverty because their pension planning was so suddenly and strongly impacted.
How to Help
Equality groups like the WE are proposing a range of policies that aim to put a stop to the cycle of poverty for ladies in retirement. They are pushing for better pay, improved access to childcare, statutory maternity pay for all working mothers, and tax relief for low earners.
One key thing that needs to change is the government acknowledging that women still earn less than their male counterparts, as well as the fact that childcare often falls on their shoulders. It can be extremely difficult to return to higher paying jobs after leaving the workplace for parenting for years at a time.
Add your voice to the calls, and support your sisters in the ongoing fight for equality!
Securing Your Own Future
Even if you have a state pension plan, it is a good idea to consider additional options for securing your retirement income further down the line. Having a private plan and an effective portfolio of investments will help minimise risk, maximise tax relief, and ensure that you have the best chance of a comfortable post employment lifestyle.
Working women today have the benefit of being able to make the most of a whole host of different options available to us. Embrace the variety of choices in your pension planning and empower yourself to take your future into your own hands.
Claire Novakovic is the go-to expert for those who need advice on a pension planning business owners. As a Chartered Financial Advisor, she also holds the relevant FCA permissions to conduct pension transfer business including defined benefit schemes. Accudo Investments offers comprehensive independent financial advice tailored to each individual’s needs, using effective portfolio management and tax strategies to meet the needs identified.
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