This week has seen the state pension for women rise to the age of 65, matching men for the first time. This equalisation of the state pension is the first step towards a rise in the state pension age for both sexes to 66 in October 2020 and a planned further rise to 67 starting in 2026. A further rise to 68 was recommended by the Cridland review earlier this year.
However, the accelerated timetable for equalising and raising the state pension age has hit women hard according to the campaign group Waspi (Women against state pension inequality). It says nearly 4 million women born in the 1950s are being forced to wait up to an extra six years to receive a state pension.
A spokesperson for Waspi said: "Clearly, equalisation is not simply just about the age you reach retirement, but also about your ability to accrue a full state pension entitlement, and generate a private pension to have any hope of security in retirement."
Baroness Ros Altmann, the former pensions minister has also warned that the system is far from equal and urged the government to act. "Women have always had lower pensions than men, leaving them at greater risk of later life poverty, especially as women tend to live longer than men. An increasing proportion of women are single and cannot rely on a partner's pension for retirement income. Women in their 50s and older have lost out most, but younger women face penalties too, as all pensions - state, workplace and private pensions - discriminate against women."
To help remedy the situation, Baroness Altmann said:
"The government should consider making payments to women facing hardship. Many women are relying entirely on the state pension for their retirement income and have not had time to build up private pensions. DWP could also consider allowing early access to state pension if needed."