Little is being done to bridge ACT’s gender super gap

Industry Super Australia

The typical Canberra woman on the cusp of retirement has almost half the super of the typical man – as the government keeps dragging its feet on solutions that will help bridge the gender super gap.

The median super balance for an ACT woman in her early 60s is $231,400, lagging the male median of $432,800 – new analysis from Industry Super Australia shows (ISA).

A recent retirement survey, commissioned by ISA, found that on average women spend 12 years less in the full-time workforce than men, this time away from work is having a dramatic impact on their super balance.

ACT women’s median super balances stick closely to men’s throughout their 20s and 30s. The gender gap starts to widen once women reach their 40s and stretches to more than 30% when women are in their early 50s (See table 1).

This is after many women take time out of the paid workforce to raise children – highlighting the need for super to be paid on parental leave.

The ACT’s gender imbalance stretches to 47% when a woman is in her early 60s.

In the electorate of Canberra, the typical woman in her 60s has almost $400,000 less than the typical man – a whopping gender super gap of nearly 70% (See table 2 below).

As the gender gap widens the government has been dragging its feet on important reforms which could reduce the imbalance for Canberra women including:

· Paying super on every dollar earned, including on Commonwealth paid parental leave;

· Abolishing the $450 threshold where super is not paid unless you earn more than that a month, this greatly impacts women as they are more likely to have multiple part-time jobs;

· Failing to enact super splitting legislation, this streamlines the splitting of super assets and allows more women to get their fair share when a relationship ends.

One in three women retire with no super balance at all, according to a 2016 Senate report.

More women than men will also get the legislated super guarantee increase, the government re-committing to its election promise to lift the rate is part of the solution to fix super’s gender imbalance.

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