Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy says it’s incumbent on political decision-makers to do more to address gender inequality after new research revealed women are more susceptible to short-term poverty risk and later life disadvantage than men.
‘Women’s Economic Transition to Retirement’, a report compiled by Sarah McKenna, of the Northern Ireland Assembly research unit, concluded that older women are particularly vulnerable to policy changes aimed at coping with our ageing population.
She reports that women of retirment age, who are already suffering financial hardship due to the ongoing equalisation of the state pension age for men and women, have often made economic sacrifices in order to provide care for grandchildren and elderly relatives.
Colr. Duffy said more must be done to address gender inequality.
“Despite the advances of recent decades, fundamental inequities remain for women. The fact that people are living longer should be a cause of celebration but for many older women the impact of economic inequality in terms of the gender pay gap, promotional glass ceiling, disproportionate caring responsibilities and discrimination in the labour market could result in disadvantage and poverty.”
While the North is the only place in the United Kingdom were the gender pay gap actually favours women, this advantage is likely to shrink if public sector cuts continue.
“It is ironic that the British Tory Government have sought to further disadvantaged women in the name of equality by refusing to put in place transitional arrangements for women negatively impacted by the change in state pension age.
“Women have the right to have their economic and social contributions recognised and rewarded equally to those of their male counterparts.”