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When it comes to retiring, will women be facing an unequal future?

Words: Grace Gigner

Many of us have heard there's a gender pensions gap. Phenomenally, women have to work an additional 18 years in full time employment to save the same amount of money into their pensions as a working man. But…circumstances do seem to dictate and rule when it comes to women saving into pensions.

We spoke to three eloquent Women, who shared their experiences and how they feel it's so important to educate women about pensions, and for the government to proactively address it. When it comes to retiring, will women be facing an unequal future?

I spoke to Annushka, a 25 year old single mum from Essex who feels her life experience - from taking a break from work to having a family, losing a job and simply struggling to afford to save for a pension - has interrupted her getting the most out of pensions.

I asked if there should be more security for women's pensions during maternity periods, whether in work or unemployed, Annushka comments:

“ There should be especially for single working mums who have one source of income so being able to pay into a pension is difficult as it is, let alone if you only have one income.”

Talking with Maddy, a 34 year old mum of 3 who runs her own company, she highlights how pensions can be a “clever way” of being tax efficient by retirement age.

I asked Maddy how she could see the UK pension system being improved for women she says:

“I think employers should be obligated to educate their workers about pensions instead of just offering them; they should have to explain what it all means. It should be clear.

“I think there should be legislation around it and a certain learning process with every individual employer as they get onboard and opt into the company. I also think there needs to be more financial education for women and I think a great way of doing that is through employers and schools.“

Maddy had one eye-opening thought: “The government should make it easier or even compulsory for families to split their pensions better than how you can split maternity leave as it definitely doesn’t go far enough. I think they should do the same thing with pensions.“

Writing this now, and as a 20 year old woman myself at the beginning of my career, I didn’t really understand what a pension was until now - let alone the importance of it! Now I realise how it will affect my future, and personally, I can see just how important it is to educate people about the reasons to save into pensions, and to make sure there is provision. I spoke to Emmy, a 31 year old self employed lash and brow artist who has never paid into a pension mentions, and feels similarly:

She says: “It would be good for the government, when you start a self employed business, to give you more information and guidance about how to get a pension - as It is not taught at school. It needs to be educated before people go out into the workplace and understand the benefits of it.”

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