Women more at risk of financial insecurity later in life – CII

Sophie King reports...

Women stand at greater risk of “pension poverty”, according to a report from the CII’s Insuring Women’s Financial Futures initiative.

The report revealed women’s financial security to be “hampered” by systematic challenges through life, such as the gender pay gap, the motherhood penalty and not understanding the importance of putting money towards a pension.

The report claimed fewer than one in 10 (8%) women view contributing to a pension as their highest priority when starting work, and that almost two-thirds of mothers returning to work part-time earn some 30% less per hour than full-time female workers.

Insuring Women’s Futures is an initiative established by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) as part of its ‘Insuring Futures’ programme. Its purpose is to refine its approach to women and risk, improving the gender gap in the personal finance sector.

Insuring Women’s Futures chair and Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) CEO Sian Fisher said: “Although women’s lives and freedoms have changed for the better, society’s expectations of women have not.

“The serious financial disadvantage women face in old age cannot be attributed to any one factor but is a combination of societal, health and financial factors stacked against them.”

Fisher added that the culmination of the gender pay gap, caring for the family and care costs are potentially “driving women towards poverty in old age”.

Women reportedly do twice as much domestic work and childcare as men and, by 2020, seven million women and five million men will have moved beyond the state pension age.

Insuring Women’s Futures is also launching a manifesto to improve women’s lifelong financial resilience. It will also look to take steps to address some of the root causes of the women’s pension deficit by looking at areas such as young women’s financial capability, the motherhood penalty and part-time working.

The task force will address some of the main issues of the 12 financial “perils and pitfalls” that impact women’s financial resilience through life.

‘Doing the lion’s share’

Insuring Women’s Futures ‘Women’s Risk in Life’ committee lead Jane Portas said: “Women in Britain today contribute to our economy and society more than ever before.

“A young British woman can expect to work until she is 70, do the lion’s share of family caring and save hard for her retirement and yet, with lower lifelong earnings, she risks facing financial insecurity in later life, and the prospect of not being able to pay for her own care.”

She added: “Changes in our work-life patterns, combined with the rise in cohabitation and increasingly fragmented family structures means modernising pensions is a must.”