Australia

Australian women retire with 37 per cent less super than men

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The statistics agency has released its annual report on the differences between men and women in Australia, a week after Labor announced new policies to close the ‘super gap’.

Women are reaching retirement age with around 37 per cent of the superannuation savings of men, new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals.

Women aged between 55 and 64 have an average of $196,000 in the bank, compared with $310,000 on average for men.

SBS News
SBS News

The same report found women were earning around 89 per cent of what men earn, on average, but homeownership rates were similar between the genders.

The results come a week after the federal Labor opposition announced a $400 million funding proposal to close the gap in superannuation, with deputy leader Tanya Plibersek saying too many women were retiring into poverty. 

SBS News
SBS News

A Shorten government would gradually phase out the $450 per month minimum income threshold for the superannuation guarantee, meaning more lower-paid and casual employees would be paid super.

It would also use Commonwealth money to pay superannuation to those on paid parental leave.

The gap between the retirement savings of the two genders is largely caused by the amount of time women spend out of the workforce raising children, and the fact women are generally paid less than men. 

Ms Plibersek said the changes were needed to young parents, especially mothers were not "penalised" for "taking time out of the workforce to care for their young families". 

The proposals were welcomed by superannuation groups like Hesta and the Council for the Ageing, but were criticised by the Australian Industry Group for adding "much more to employer costs than it will add to the retirement incomes of women". 

SBS News
SBS News

The government's minister for women, Kelly O'Dwyer, said Labor should support the government's proposed reforms to superannuation fees before embarking on any further changes. 

"Before you can consider further changes to the superannuation system you've got to fix the current structural problems that exist right now," she told ABC Radio on Monday. 

The new figures also show more women were obtaining bachelor’s degrees than men, but female graduates were earning less overall. 

SBS News
SBS News

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