Budget 2018 must close the gender pensions gap
Published: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) yesterday launched its 2018 Pre Budget Submission, “Value for Money and Money for Values”, calling on the Government to tackle the deep inequalities women face in the pension system and to increase investment in affordable childcare.
To launch the submission, NWCI held a briefing day in Buswells, attended by TDs and Senators from all parties. Over 70 Oireachtas members, including several Ministers were briefed by women about the impact of the gender pensions gap on their lives.
Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,
“The gender pension gap in Ireland is 37%, and although women predominately rely on state pensions to provide an income in their older years, they have considerably less access to state pensions than men. Currently only 16 per cent of women receive the full pension, reflecting both the legacy of the marriage bar and a system poorly designed to support individual entitlement or recognise the care work which women carry out. Furthermore, the 2012 changes to contribution bands to State pensions significantly reduced many women’s access to full pensions, and further widened the gender pensions gap.”
“Budget 2018 is a crucial opportunity to addresses the indirect discrimination against women in the pension system, as well as ensuring pension policy in Ireland is based on the modern lives of women and men. A longstanding issue for women accessing pensions is that the Homemakers Scheme only applies retrospectively to 1994, leaving many women who were forced out of work by the marriage bar with insufficient and unfair pension entitlements. It is critical that the government immediately backdate the Homemaker’s Scheme to 1973 and, as promised seven years ago, replace the Homemakers' Disregard with credits. Importantly, Budget 2018 must ensure the 2012 changes to pensions bands are reversed.”
Early Years Care and Education
Orla O’Connor continued,
“NWCI welcomed the measures announced in last year’s Budget, but the affordability of childcare and the poor pay of the childcare workforce remains to be tackled. As the primary responsibility for childcare in Ireland continues to be placed on women, these high costs have had a devastating impact on gender equality in Ireland. In addition the vast majority of the childcare workforce are women. The lack of affordable childcare continues to be cited as the key obstacle to women's full participation in employment and in public and civil life. Women are making decisions which impact their career progression, working hours and types of employment based on childcare considerations, and this cannot continue.”
“Budget 2018 must increase investment in the Affordable Childcare Scheme to ensure full roll out by September 2018 and increase the coverage of the universal aspect of the scheme. The initiation of an agreed national salary scale for the childcare workforce is urgently needed. We also need to identify a model for future capping of childcare fees and move to a more public delivery of childcare in Ireland. These recommendations alongside greater paid parental and paternity leave would provide both immediate benefit and also set us on a course to provide a sustainable childcare infrastructure for both children and parents.”
Photographs from the event will be circulated to Picture Desks.
For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, 085 8619087
Note to Editors:
The full NWCI’s Pre Budget Submission is available here.