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WOW moments for International Women’s Day

What better way to spend International Women’s Day, than attending the Women of the World (WOW) conference? Especially with a keynote from the host of The Guilty Feminist podcast, Deborah Frances-White. 

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But I’m not just here for Deborah. ABI member Scottish Widows this week launched their national Gender Pensions Gap campaign at WOW, which hopes to encourage meaningful conversations amongst female savers. Their new campaign (featuring a charming younger version of the Widow) includes a “Your Future Self” tool (if only mine had looked like the Widow). On a more serious note, this welcome initiative is one of many actions our industry is taking to help transition to a world where an equal number of women to men will be able to have independent, adequate provision for retirement. 

Increasingly, the tools are being put in place to meet this ambition. Automatic enrolment continues to be a gamechanger for female participation in workplace pensions, and a report by the IFS this week found that women have higher participation in workplace pensions than men. The Money and Pensions Service also recently announced their new Challenge Groups, and we are delighted Yvonne Braun, our Director of Long-Term Savings and Protection, will sit on the one on Gender and Financial Wellbeing. This follows the commitment for a cross cutting focus on gender in their National Strategy earlier this year.

However, as we found when working on the Insuring Women’s Futures project, the inevitable answer to improving women’s independent long-term finances is to create a working environment where they can thrive.

The ABI and its members are leading the way by helping establish this environment, from before you apply for a job (through the transparent parental leave and pay initiative) to taking a job which meets your needs. Our new Job Share Project does just this, and we are working with our members to put processes in place so that prospective talent can form job share partnerships and apply for positions. Our research shows that part-time workers (who are predominantly women) are much less likely to be promoted and progress up the pay-scale - but the same is not true of people that job share (where two people work together in one full-time role). Quite aptly, the ABI’s first job share partnership is tasked with delivering this vital project. Given a staggering 90% of the people that work part-time in our sector are women, this project has real potential to effect positive change.

There’s lots of WOW initiatives to be encouraged by, but we can’t rest on our laurels. With the annual private pension income for men remaining 55% more than it is for women[1], there’s still much more to do.

[1] NOW:Pensions and Pensions Policy Institute: https://www.pensionsage.com/pa/Womens-private-pension-income-under-half-of-mens.php


Last updated 10/10/2023