Geography is having a serious impact on women’s retirement savings, with the superannuation gap ranging from 16 to 39 per cent dependent on state.
Western Australian and Queensland were the worst offenders, new research from Rice Warner and Women in Super showed, with women in those states having an average super balance 34 – 39 per cent less than men.
In Western Australia, for example, women held on average $84,000 in their super accounts, compared to $132,000 for men.
Industry experts said however, that the gap was significant regardless of state and immediate action was needed, such as abolishing the $450 monthly income threshold for super payments, paying super on paid parental leave, providing additional super contributions for low income earners, and committing to raising the super guarantee to 12 per cent.
“Better policy is needed if we are to make a difference to the retirement outcomes of all Australian women,” Women in Super national chair, Cate Wood, said.
“We have tinkered around the edges for too long. It is time to implement structural changes that deliver real improvements for women.”
Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) chief executive, Eva Scheerlinck, echoed Wood’s sentiment: “The gender savings gap has been sitting around these levels for a long time. We need brave and substantial, systemic reform that redresses this imbalance once and for all.”
Of course, the crux of the superannuation gap ultimately would come down to the pay gap between men and women and attention also needed to be paid to remedying this inequity.
The Rice Warner research was based on an analysis of 4,000,000 members’ account balances in five large super funds.