Submission to Inquiry into Economic Security for Women in Retirement

This submission refers to the following points in our submission to the Government’s retirement incomes inquiry:

  • There is a sharp drop in workforce participation among women over 60 years, with a majority of women over 60 no longer in the paid workforce.
  • Women face specific barriers to paid work related to the gendered nature of caring roles, and are at higher risk of broken patterns of paid work.
  • Many older women are currently being forced to rely on the below poverty line Newstart Allowance until they are of pension age and are faced with high housing costs, especially those in the private rental market.
  • Current superannuation tax concessions disadvantage women, who generally have lower average earnings;
    The average superannuation balance for women now reaching 65 years is half that for men. While these balances are increasing for younger cohorts of women, they still remain below three quarters of average male balances, even among younger cohorts.
  • Only a minority of higher-earning women are in a position to ‘catch up’ to their male counterparts in later life by making above-average contributions.
  • There is a need for specific reforms to address the gender inequities inherent in the design of the superannuation system.