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Childcare key to retirement gender gap: survey

4 minute read

The majority of Australians believe improving access to childcare or reducing the cost of childcare would boost retirement outcomes for women, with a new survey finding 80 per cent of women expect they will need to rely on the age pension when they retire.

The study by Aware Super has revealed the findings, which show 60 per cent of Australian men believe they will have enough money to be comfortable in their retirement, in contrast to a mere 20 per cent of women. 

The research has also shown 63 per cent of women worry that they will run out of money during retirement, with nearly 40 per cent believing they will need to rely on family to help out with the shortfall if they do run out of money. 

Notably, 74 per cent of Australians believe that improving access to childcare or reducing the cost of childcare would improve women’s retirement outcomes. 


Calling out gender bias and inequity was also urged for, with the research showing more than 55 per cent of Australians believe reducing the wage gap and 45 per cent believe paying super on maternity leave would improve outcomes for women. 

Aware Super chief executive Deanne Stewart called it an uncomfortable reality that Australian women face more economic uncertainty, but they have a greater chance at better futures the more the inequity is challenged.

“More than two-thirds of Aware Super members are female and everyday we see the very real long-term impact of the current pay and more time spent out of the paid workforce in a caring capacity, has on their long-term financial security,” Ms Stewart said. 

“Too many women lose out the benefits of compound interest on their super balances throughout their younger years which can have a profound impact on the quality of their retirement. 

“Although there has been genuine progress in closing the gender pay gap, with women still retiring with 40 per cent less super than men, it is important that as leaders, we pave the way for long-term and lasting change.”

International Women’s Day takes place on Monday, with Ms Stewart noting Australians “must challenge ourselves to do better and remove the structural barriers” for women’s financial futures.

“It starts at the workplace, by creating genuinely inclusive work environments that not only increase productivity and organisational wellbeing, but also support all employees to take advantage of workplace flexibility and share caring and other responsibilities at home,” the CEO said. 

“It is also critical that we provide the right education and advice to empower Australians, particularly women, to prepare for their long-term financial future. 

“We can no longer put these issues in the too hard basket. Facing up to these challenges now is imperative for future generations and our ongoing economic prosperity.”

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth. 

Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio. 

You can contact her on [email protected].