The gender retirement gap will not be closed until the gender pay gap is closed, according to Per Capita chief economist, Warwick Smith.
Addressing the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds (CMSF) in Brisbane, Smith drew on research conducted by Per Capita for the Australian Services Union (ASU) – Not Super for Women – but said that the problems confronting women could not be totally addressed within superannuation funds.
In doing so, Smith said that superannuation funds would have to look outside the superannuation industry and particularly at the gender pay gap.
“It is a wicked problem that can’t be addressed within superannuation alone,” he said.
Smith said that this was in the context of wage inequities such as men with children earning more than men without children and women with children earning less than those without.
Queensland Council of Unions general secretary, Ros McLennan said the reality of the gender pay gap and its translation to the gender retirement gap was that many women were retiring poor, experiencing social isolation and consequently facing mental health issues.
She said it was in these circumstances that industry superannuation funds needed to exercise their power.
“There is a lot of power in terms of where funds deploy workers’ capital,” she said, adding that there was a genuine argument for positive discrimination in favour of women.