Women in the UK will now qualify for their state pensions at the same age as men, but the change has prompted warnings that the milestone could still leave many women behind.
The move to equalise pension ages between men and women began 25 years ago under John Major’s government, and has been phased in gradually.
Now, women who are 65 on 6 November will be the first to receive their pension at the same age as men.
However, campaigners claim that women are still a long way from ‘true’ pension equality because the amount they typically receive is lower.
Men and women will begin to see their state pension ages rise together, from age 65 to 66 by October 2020, and to 67 by 2028.
Why? We’re Living Longer
The move to increase the state pension age is the result of us living for longer, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.
In 1951, girls had a life expectancy of 82 years, and boys could expect to live 77 years.
A girl born today can expect to reach the age of 93, with boys’ life expectancy rising to 90.
In response, several governments have said that, unless the qualifying age for state pensions went up, they would become unaffordable.
Campaigners Warn Against the Change
WASPI Campaigners in Pembrokeshire. Credit: Jim Hughes
Despite the parity of age, campaigners have warned that men and women remain far from equal when it comes to the pension pot.
Figures show that in 2017 the average woman’s state pension was worth £126 a week, compared with £154 for men.
However, these figures exclude claims for Pension Credit, which has more female recipients than male.
Women Against State Pension Age Inequality (WASPI) has campaigned for women to be compensated for the late notice about changing the pension age in 1995 and 2011 – which meant that some women could not adjust their retirement plan in time.
The group say they will continue their campaign to win compensation for those who were unaware that their state pension age was going to rise.
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.
Debbie de Spon, a spokesperson for WASPI, argued, “equalisation is not just about the age you reach retirement, but also your ability to generate a full state pension entitlement, and pay into a private pension, to have any hope of security in retirement.”