Waspi campaign decision is good news, but pensions inequality still affects millions of women - April 2024

It was good to hear the recent news about the Waspi campaigners who won a landmark judgment about shortfalls in UK state pension payments which affect thousands of women. 
The Women Against State Pension Inequality group was founded in 2015 and its supporters have campaigned since then on behalf of women born in the 1950s who have been adversely affected by changes to the state pension age. 
After nearly a decade of activity, in March 2024 the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) said those affected should be compensated. Understandably this was a cause for celebration for the campaigners who had worked so hard to get justice. However, despite this victory, at the time of writing there are still questions to be answered about if and when the women affected will receive the compensation which the Ombudsman says is owed to them. 
Sadly, despite the Waspi campaign, the bigger picture is that there are still millions of women affected by other longstanding issues that contribute to inequalities regarding retirement planning. 
Earlier this year research published by the Pensions and the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) revealed that on average women in the UK need to work an extra 19 years to retire with the same pension savings as men. According to the PPI report women typically retire with pension savings of £69,000 compared to £205,000 for men. A number of factors are at play here, including lower salaries, career breaks, and caring responsibilities. Another important factor to consider when looking a gender inequality is that on average women live longer than men, so will therefore need pension pots greater than those for men in order to maintain equivalent standards of living in retirement. 
Looking at gender inequality more generally in terms of financial security, an HSBC study published in February this year to coincide with International Women’s Day found that a majority of women (69%) lack confidence when it comes to investing money for their future; and over a third (33%) do not have any savings at all. 
The message that many women are taking from all this news is that having a personal or workplace pension which works as hard as they do is essential if they are to fulfill the ambitions they have for their retirement. 
If you are an IFA with clients concerned about the issues raised in this blog, contact our friendly team at enquiries@optionspensions.co.uk to find out about how our Your Simple SIPP and Your Premier SIPP could help.
Disclaimer: As a SIPP provider, Options UK can provide information and guidance about what can and can’t be done within a pension scheme. We cannot provide advice as we are not regulated to do so – but we always recommend that advice is sought from an appropriately qualified regulated adviser before embarking on a financial investment.