Gender inequality lasts well beyond retirement
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Explicit gender discrimination in employment and pay is now illegal, but the lifetime effects of discrimination and the wage gap (which still sits at 17.5%) are long lasting.
I was going through some of my research material last week and came across a study conducted by Victoria University by Linda Rosenman and Wayne Scott in 2009, Financing Old Age: Why is There Still Gender Inequality?
The study finds that women earn less than men, save less, generally retire earlier and live longer lives. So it follows that our savings must support us through a long period of non-earning.
Curious to get the bloke's view, I raised the point with some male friends to see what their responses would be. Most postulated that women didn't need to worry about it, since their husbands would be most likely to take care of them and leave them with enough assets to live a comfortable life, long after they had left the mortal coil.
However gratifying it might be to learn that gentlemen still exist, the statistics tell a different story.
According to 2008 research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, women in their later years are more likely than men to depend on government benefits and "live without the relative degree of economic protection afforded by marriage or partner support".
I'm sure you're with me when I say I certainly don't want to be dependent on government benefits on my dotage; I want to be dancing around in an Agent Provocateur nightie waving a glass of champagne over my pompoms.
I'll let that image sit with you for a while. Ready? Ok let's move forward.
Linda Rosenman and Wayne Scott again: "Women remain concentrated in occupations and industries in which earnings are lower and they have lower lifetime earnings as a result of their concentration into part-time and contract employment, often to accommodate family demands as well as because of the nature of the industries in which they work."
Let's keep this simple. We need to save more, earn more, spend less than we earn and invest wisely. We can't depend on somebody else to manage this for us and we need to factor in career breaks, the move to part-time work and contract employment. Unfortunately, we also need to consider the pay gap, even in full-time employment.
Let's put ourselves first ladies, it's like putting on our own oxygen masks before our kids'; once we can breathe easy we can help others. Isn't that ultimately what we all want; and the Agent Provocateur nightie and the champagne, of course.
Could you live on the current government pension for singles of $712 a fortnight? If not, what are you doing about it?