Despite some industry efforts to even out superannuation balances between men and women, women are forced to contribute more funds to their super to equalise the scales, new research from Rice Warner has shown.
The research, which charted the average balance of superannuation accounts owned by women relative to the account balances of their male counterparts as at 30 June 2017, showed that women across the board have consistently lower average account balances.
The gap widens between the ages of 35 and 55, with superannuation balances averaging between 69 and 77 per cent of male balances.
The trend is exacerbated as statistics show that women retire earlier than men and live nearly three years long, while also battling lower average salaries.
“While there are many potential reasons for this, one leading reason may lie in the tendency of women to take career breaks to raise children during a period when they would otherwise have received promotional opportunities,” the report said.
But, while the odds are not in their favour, women are making an active effort to close the gap through voluntary contributions to their superannuation. The graph below shows the average voluntary superannuation contribution by females compared to males.
While strategies like higher super guarantee contributions to females and maternity leave payments could help close the gap, Rice Warner predicted superannuation inequality would be a large mountain to climb and would continue to require structural change and community action.