ELIZABETH BRODERICK: The life cycle of a woman is effectively geared to accumulating poverty.
ELIZABETH BRODERICK: The life cycle of a woman is effectively geared to accumulating poverty. Matthew Syres

Women are losing on their super

SEX Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has called for an extension of the superannuation co-contribution scheme as she launched a stinging attack on the nation's retirement system.

She told the Sydney Institute last week what many in the super industry have long recognised - that the system discriminates against women.

“Our superannuation system has been designed to provide maximum benefit to those who fit a very specific trajectory - the typical male life,” she said.

“Certainly that does not reflect the reality of a typical woman's life cycle.”

An average women's super balances were about half that of men, according to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia.

“These figures should ring alarm bells for all of us,” Ms Broderick said.

“The life cycle of a woman is effectively geared to accumulating poverty.”

She suggested that the co-contribution scheme - where the Government matches dollar-for-dollar contributions for those earning up to $60,300, up to $1000.

Ms Broderick also raised the issue of employers paying the 9 per cent superannuation contribution for staff on maternity leave.

She added that as superannuation grows the early gender gap in pay, and years out of the workforce caring for children, restricted women's ability to save for retirement.

It has been made harder by the economic crisis. Since the collapse of US bank Lehman Brothers, ASFA's Ross Clare has tracked the decline in co-contributions as people feared putting money into the stock market.

However, 12 months on, the world economy is vastly different.

Shane Oliver, AMP Capital Investors head of investment strategy and chief economist, said: “No one expects the recovery process to be smooth and easy, but at least we are now on the road to recovery.”

SHOULD SUPER BE PAID ON MATERNITY LEAVE? Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948


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