Pensions for women in the UK will remain far lower in value than men’s unless pay parity and education are tackled head on, the chief executive of the Chartered Insurance Institute has warned.

Sian Fisher, who in 2019 co-authored the Insuring Women’s Futures Manifesto, said that although it would take time for women to take more control over their financial futures, the conversations needed to happen now to help women avoid a financially insecure retirement.

She warned that the gender pay report has been showing a persistent gap between the earnings power of men and women with the same experience, doing the same job. “And it is not moving. The current estimates are that if the pay levels stay as they are, then it will be 2050 by the time there is a closing of that pay gap.

“And, if you extrapolate from that, pension parity might not be there until 2100, and none of us think that is the right place to be.”

Quite aside from the moral issues of ‘fairness’, she pointed to the fact this would mean a higher cost to society in terms of a greater dependency on the state pension.

In fact, the state pension has already been a bone of contention among women especially since the rising of the state pension age.

Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, said the state pension should mirror the flexibility awarded to private pensions, citing in particular the “plight of the Waspi women” (those covered by the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign), who have suffered “hardship caused by having to wait longer for the state pension to kick in”.

If workplace pension values for women are still so far below those for men, the industry needs to do more to help those women approaching and already in retirement.

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