Skip to main content

Monday, 29 August 2022

The 168-year1 wait Australian women face until they achieve equal pay will create a cumulative $684 billion2 deficit in superannuation guarantee contributions over that period, according to modelling released today by Aware Super in time for Equal Pay Day

The national 14.1 per cent gender pay gap3 is now the single largest contributor to the retirement balance disparity between men and women and is even more alarming considering for every $1 a young female worker contributes to their super today, it is worth $4 in retirement4 .

Aware Super Chief Executive Officer, Deanne Stewart said inequality of a system where women were retiring with 30 per cent less super than men5 had been a millstone around the necks of Australian women for too long. 

“There are two timelines to consider when looking at your future super income which is based on your current wage and multiplied over your working life,” Ms Stewart said.

“There’s the now – which is when Australian women are being paid less for the same roles than men – and then there’s the future which is one where that lower wage means a lower starting point and will be leaving them with a smaller retirement income to live on.” 

Ms Stewart calls for urgent action from employers across Australia to find a practical solution to tackle the societal hurdles underpinning the issue. 

“Time is up for organisations which do not tackle the gender pay gap head-on, because the future of our women’s retirement security is at stake,” says Ms Stewart.

“Employers have the power to make positive change today through a range of initiatives such as pay equity audits, or making their organisation’s gender pay equity policy available to all staff.”

Ms Stewart also said any solution to the superannuation pay gap should be in tune with the working lives of women.

“For instance, when women first enter the workforce, there should be policies in place to enshrine equal pay for equal jobs.

“When they leave the workforce to have children, this is when paid parental leave and a super guarantee on both paid and unpaid parental leave can help to close the gap.

“And when women return to work, affordable and accessible childcare is key to allowing full participation in the workforce, improving both pay and superannuation equity.

Ms Stewart added Aware Super proactively paid super guarantee on periods of unpaid parental leave and conducted regular pay reviews and analysis. She issued a call for any employer – public or private – to follow their lead. 

“When women are paid less than men, it sets up a domino effect of disadvantage for life – all the way to, and then through retirement,” said Ms Stewart.

“As one of the Australia’s leading super funds caring for over 1.1 million members who are primarily our nation’s essential workers, we are passionate advocates for initiatives to redress this imbalance, so the safety net afforded by superannuation is there for all of us,” she said, adding female healthcare workers currently earned $454.506 less a week than male colleagues leading to a super deficit of $136,0007 over the life of their career.

Interview opportunities

Deanne Steward, Aware Super Chief Executive Officer

For media enquiries, contact:

Meredith Williams, External Affairs Manager

t:  0405508788


Note to Editors

Previously known as First State Super, we changed our name to Aware Super in September 2020.

Aware Super is a name that reflects our members and what we stand for. It echoes the strengths of our past, aligning to our purpose to be a force for good in superannuation, retirement, and advice, driving better outcomes for our members, their families, and communities. 

Aware Super has been the fund for people who value community since 1992, and we’re now one of Australia’s largest funds and continuing to grow. We merged with VicSuper and WA Super in 2020 and now manage $155 billion in savings for more than 1 million members located across the country.

Our members work in roles that breathe life into their communities and they expect us to do the same. So, we invest in assets that we believe will make a positive difference today – improving our communities, building a more a sustainable economy and supporting employment both locally and globally at the same time as providing strong long-term returns. 

Discover how we’re helping members do well financially while doing good in the world: Visit