Interactive Investor

ii calls for urgent action amid inequalities research

27th May 2020 14:10

Moira O'Neill from interactive investor


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Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis suggests women’s finances are taking a bigger hit under lockdown.

The coronavirus has shone a spotlight on Britain’s wealth divide and, whatever the politicians and their advisers say and do, we are not "all in this together".

The same goes for those living under the same roof. Analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) released today suggests that not only are women shouldering a higher proportion of domestic chores and home schooling, but their finances are taking a bigger hit too.

Moira O’Neill, Head of Personal Finance at interactive investor, says: “It looks like the gender pay gap figure very likely just went up and we need action fast. Since the start of lockdown, mothers are more likely to be out of pocket, out of work, and shouldering the lion’s share of domestic responsibilities – which now includes home schooling. 

“Women are more likely to have quit or lost their job, have been furloughed, all of which has long term implications for their financial security. Mothers in paid work in February are 9 percentage points less likely to be currently working for pay (either remotely or on-site) than fathers.

“This inequality could have long term implications, particularly as we head into the most uncertain economic environment in living memory. We need to see urgent action from Government aimed at tackling these worsening financial gender inequalities. We want the Government to widen the £10,000 earnings threshold for auto-enrolment to those working for multiple employers, liberating millions of workers who might have several part-time jobs - many of whom are women. 

“This winter those aged 50 and over will be starting to get pension ‘Wake Up Packs’ to help them gauge what their retirement finances might look like. But these packs need to start well before 50, at key life stages such as the start of a new job or birth of a child. Nobody wants their finances to sleep until they reach 50.

“And let’s get auto-enrolment working better for everyone – lowering the minimum age limit to 18 sooner rather than later. The Government’s mid-2020s ambition is lethargic and risks leaving a whole generation behind – and these are the ones who are going to be footing much of the coronavirus bill.”

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