Because so little of the Brexit debate has focused on how women will be affected, few older women may have thought about it either.
When we talk about how Brexit will affect us the focus is often on young people. This is understandable: young people are the ones who will be affected by Brexit for decades to come, and the vast majority of them voted to remain in 2016. They are the ones who will be paying for something they didn’t want in the first place.
But just because young people are the ones who will arguably be the most unfairly hurt by Brexit, that doesn’t mean they are the only ones. In fact, contrary to the popular misconception that pensioners have never been so well off, the majority of our vulnerable people are in fact the over 65s. Specifically, women over the age of 65.
This year the trade union Prospect revealed that women currently receive 39.5 per cent less than men in state pension payments. According to Age UK, 23 per cent of single elderly women are unable to meet their everyday living costs. That’s almost 600,000 women. And this poverty is built into the system.
Pension schemes are designed to favour those who are able to work full time for most of their lives. And that just doesn’t reflect the reality of women’s lives. Women still bear the vast majority of unpaid care work in the UK, from caring for children to bring for elderly relatives. This inevitably affects their ability to work full-time, or to develop their careers as easily as men – and this in turn affects their pension payouts, especially since many women have to work multiple jobs to fit work around their caring schedule and so don’t earn enough from a single job to qualify for auto-enrolment into the state pension scheme. (You can’t combine earnings from several jobs to qualify.)
When it comes to private pension schemes, the situation for today’s workers looks even worse. For a start, women are much less likely to invest in Defined Contribution (private) pension schemes. This has been attributed to the fact they are marketed by and for men, as well as women’s tendency to be more risk averse.
The Women’s Budget Group reported in 2018 that, between the years 2012 and 2014, men’s personal pension accumulations were almost 50 per cent more …read more
Source:: New Statesman