NWCI Opening Statement to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection on Indirect Gender Discrimination in State Pension Policy
Published: Thursday, June 29, 2017
Women predominately rely on State Pensions to provide an income in their older years. Yet for a number of reasons, both historical and current, women continue to have less access to State Pensions then men. Currently 84% of those receiving a full State contributory pension are men; women continue to rely on reduced means tested pension payments or remain as dependents on their husband’s pension. The fact that only 16% of women receive the full Contributory State Pension reflects 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. Time spent caring must be recognised and credited, both for people currently in the workforce and those who are now of retirement age who have spent a large portion of their lives caring. In order to guarantee pension equality for women, we must address existing injustices in the pension system as well as ensuring they do not occur in the future. Following a series of presentations by NWCI (here) and others in June 2017, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection published a report on the State Pension with attendant recommendations to the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty. That report included a number of recommendations that would go a long distance to closing the gender pension gap. The report can be found on the Oireachtas website here: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/socialprotection/reports/Review-of-the-State-Pension-(Contributory).pdf.