Women are paid less than men are for doing the same jobs. They take on more and longer periods of unpaid work to support their families. As a result, women have lower lifetime earnings, culminating in old age poverty for many women. The feminisation of poverty is persistent, occurs across time, context and geographies. It starts at young age and gets worse over the life cycle.
In this episode, we speak with Annabelle Williams. Annabelle is financial journalist, having previously worked for The Times, and is author of the book ‘Why Women Are Poorer Than Men’. Mixing figures and facts with examples from the UK and beyond, Annabelle provides insight into the real-life consequences of the persistent income and wealth differences between men and women.
Annabelle talks to us about how the focus on the pay gap is important but also frustrating as it hides many aspects of women’s disadvantaged situation. In the UK, the way mortgages are set up means women are less able to buy their own home. The earnings threshold for auto-enrolment into workplace pensions disqualifies a third of working women. Although women represent more than half of those without a permanent home, homelessness among women is an invisible crisis.
Annabelle is critical of workplace gurus such as Cheryl Sandberg who tell women to ‘lean in’ to solve these issues: “No amount of self-advocacy in the workplace is going to change the social structure to keep women poorer than men.” We discuss what needs to change to create greater equality for everyone.