How we are setting our women up for super success

Written by:

Kirstin Hunter

6th of February 2019

Women in Australia typically retire with 47% less super than men, and we're proud to be doing our bit to make sure that's not going to be true for our female staff.

image of woman with shadow showing her as a super hero. Future Super's super woman series installment 2: How we are setting our woman up for super success.

As Australia’s first fossil fuel free superannuation fund, we at Future Super pride ourselves on the strength of our ethics, staying vigilant to ensure that none of our members’ funds are invested in harmful industries like fossil fuels, tobacco, gambling, refugee detention or animal cruelty.

But as a superannuation company, we also feel a responsibility to try and fix the glaring injustice within the superannuation industry: that the median super balance at retirement is 47% lower for women than it is for men.

Invest your super in a fund that strives towards a more equitable system for women in Australia. Make the switch to Future Super.

Image of Median super balance immediately prior to retirement

And that this is resulting in one in three older women living in poverty.

Let that sink in for a moment.

One in THREE.

image of 3 woman. 1 in 3 woman live below the poverty line

But other than lobbying the government, other superannuation companies, and women themselves to try and fix this problem, what can we do?

Well, we can start by showing what good looks like - to mitigate the structural inequalities that mean that our female staff are statistically more likely to retire with less in their super than our male staff.

We asked ourselves, what is really behind the superannuation gap at retirement? What are the root causes of this inequality? Based on our research, it boils down to three main things:

  1. Womenearn less than men: They’re less likely to reach the most senior roles, make up the majority  in lower paid industries, and suffer the effect of the wage gap.
  2. Women takemore career breaksthan men: Mostly to have and care for children.
  3. Women aremore likely to work part-timethan men: Mostly to accommodate caring responsibilities for children and, increasingly, elderly relatives.

It’s not as simple as just paying our female staff more super - while this certainly helps, it does so in a way that risks criticism of “reverse discrimination”, especially within a team as small and close-knit as ours.

By thinking creatively, we’ve introduced three new policies to address drivers of superannuation disparity for women, and we’ve applied them in a gender-neutral way so as to help all of our staff whose super is being impacted by these drivers.

From now on, at Future Super:

  1. All of our junior staff will be paid an extra 1% of superannuation, above and beyond the statutory minimum;
  2. All staff taking parental leave will continue to receive superannuation payments, for up to one year;
  3. Any staff member who is a part-time worker, part-time carer, will be paid superannuation as though they are a full-time worker.

Making super a little more super for woman - our new policies

We’re thrilled to lead the way towards a more equitable and just superannuation system in Australia, and challenge other employers (and other super funds!) to commit to these policies too.

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