2017 was a powerful year for gender equity. It’s the year that brought us women’s marches around the world promoting equality for women, important legislative change and the global #MeToo movement against sexual assault, catalysed by allegations made against high-profile director Harvey Weinstein.
It was the year when Saudi Arabian women finally gained the right to drive, while Iceland became the first country in the world to vote in favour of pay parity – a measure that came into effect on January 1 this year.
Already 2018 is delivering the goods in the fight for gender equity. Born in Hollywood, the Time’s Up movement has fast amassed a following and supporter base around the world – and is an idea with relevance far beyond the confines of the entertainment industry.
Created by celebrities as a movement against sexual harassment, Time’s Up has adopted a broader mission to “address .. systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential”.
The movement now seeks to provide financial and advocacy support via its legal defence fund to women, men, people of colour, and the LGBT community.
While there are many measures that show we have a long way to go to address gender inequality, one notable one is the superannuation gap. While there’s a lot of focus on the gender pay gap, considering the adequacy of women’s retirement funds is just as important.
Currently, women in Australia retire with 47 per cent less superannuation than men, despite an average life expectancy of five years longer.
The gender pay gap, the number of women in part-time work, and women taking an average of five years out of the workforce to care for children and other family members, are just some of the reasons cited for the super gap.
The superannuation gap highlights a vast disparity between low and high-income earners, as well as between men and women. Currently, 40 per cent of single women in Australia aged 50 or over are living in poverty.
Concerningly, this number is increasing. This demographic is the fastest growing cohort of homeless people in the country.
The Time’s Up campaign highlights the value of turning outrage into action. Figures highlighting the superannuation gap are indeed outrageous, and so too are the trends. Unless we want to see many more Aussie women condemned to a life of poverty and homelessness, we must achieve change at a policy level.
Women in Super’s Make Super Fair campaign seeks to improve economic security for women in retirement, and advocate for a fairer, more sustainable superannuation system.
We’re calling on the Government to adopt a five-point plan to ensure women have greater economic security in retirement – and to help bridge the disturbingly large super gap between men and women.
Measures such as increasing the superannuation guarantee to 12%, removing the $450 monthly income threshold on superannuation contributions, paying super as part of the Government’s paid parental leave scheme, and an additional annual $1,000 Government contribution into super for low-income earners aged 25 and over, will go a long way to addressing this challenge.
We’re calling on women throughout Australia to get involved in the campaign to Make Super Fair and help bring an end to this serious example of gender inequality.