Pensions Board and National Women’s Council urge greater action by women around pensions

Women are living longer than men but less are contributing to pensions

Wednesday 3rd May 2006: The Pensions Board and the National Women’s Council of Ireland have today called on all women to look at their pension situation during National Pensions Action Week. There is a deficit in pension coverage among the female population in Ireland compared to the male population with 47.5% of women over 30 years of age in the Irish workforce having a pension compared to 54.2% of men. Women on average earn less than men, are more likely to be working part-time and are also living longer than men, all of which leave them particularly susceptible to poverty in later life.

Anne Maher, Chief Executive of The Pensions Board explains: “A man retiring at 65 now can expect to live to 81 and a woman retiring at 65 can expect to live to 84. Furthermore many women tend to have a fragmented career path, and these factors make women more vulnerable to poverty, especially in their later years. I would encourage women without a pension to address the issue immediately and those with a pension to review their contributions annually. There are some encouraging signs according to recent research conducted by the Pensions Board which indicates that 35% of women with a pension intend to increase their pensions contribution in the next two years and that 40% of women without a pension currently said that they plan to start a pension in the next three years. But further progress is seriously needed and I would encourage women throughout Ireland to use National Pensions Action Week to take action on securing their future.”

Speaking today following a Seminar which explored women’s economic independence as a right, Dr. Joanna McMinn, Director National Women’s Council of Ireland said: “In addition to having private pensions, the NWCI would also encourage all young women to be aware of the importance of making social insurance contributions for qualifying for a full contributory State pension.

Friday 5 May, will see a National Pensions Forum in Dublin Castle to progress the pensions debate. Following the publication of the Board’s National Pensions Review, this forum is being held to elicit the views of the many stakeholders who contribute towards the formulation of pension policy in Ireland. The forum will be chaired by Minister Séamus Brennan and will hear from national and international speakers on pensions reform. Speakers will include Alison O’Connell, Director, UK Independent Pensions Policy Institute.

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Media Queries:

Mary Hutch
Head of Information and Training
The Pensions Board
Tel: (01) 613 1900

Aongus Horgan
Assistant Head of Information and Training
The Pensions Board
Tel: (01) 613 1900

Jackie Gallagher / Mark Leech Q4 PR Tel: (01) 4751444

Notes:

About The Pensions Board
The Pensions Board is the statutory body set up to regulate occupational pension schemes and PRSAs and to advise the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, and through him, the Government, on overall pension policy development.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI)
The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) are the national representative organisation for women and women's groups in Ireland. There are currently 160 women's organisations and groups from all parts of Ireland affiliated to the Council. The NWCI represents over 300,000 women through its combined affiliate membership. For 30 years they have consistently addressed important and controversial issues affecting women. The organisation was founded in 1973 as the Council for the Status of Women. National Women's Council of Ireland, 9 Marlborough Court, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1 Tel: +353 1 8787248 E-mail: info@nwci.ie Web: www.nwci.ie

Pensions research on women
Research conducted by The Pensions Board among 1,000 respondents in the 20 – 54 year old age bracket revealed that 79%of women said that the State pension would not be enough to live on. 69% of women said that it should be compulsory to start a pension compared to 59% of males and 54% of females said that they would be willing to pay a higher rate of PRSI to provide for compulsory pensions, compared to 40% of males.

Pension information
The Pensions Board has an information booklet ‘Women and Pensions’ available online on at www.pensionsboard.ie and from LoCall 1890 65 65 65. This describes the ways in which women can provide financial security for themselves and their dependants in retirement. It addresses issues of particular interest to women such as maternity leave, career breaks and re-entering the workforce. The information unit at The Pensions Board provides a wide range of pension information booklets free of charge and can be reached at the LoCall number 1890-65-65-65 and on www.pensionsboard.ie.

National Pensions Action Week, 1 – 7 May 2006
National Pensions Action Week is currently underway with an intensive advertising and promotional focus on the key age targets of 25 – 39 which includes on-the-street promotional activity, outdoor, ambient and online advertising, national print advertising, regional and national radio and TV advertising.