It was a busy year for Women in Super, capped last Friday with the end-of-year Christmas luncheon where the association raised $18,000 on the day for a community foundation supporting women.
Lata McNulty, chair of the NSW Committee, said that in 2019, WIS held 56 events nationally, awarded over 13 scholarships to members and raised over $1.75 million for the National Breast Cancer foundation, taking their total fundraising efforts for the charity to over $37 million to date.
The group has ramped up its advocacy efforts for women in retirement. Research has found that women currently retire with 47% less superannuation than men and receive only one-third of the government tax concessions on super, while men receive the other two-thirds.
The huge super gender disparity has urged WIS to lobby the government for new superannuation policy proposals that will close this gap, including changes to tax concessions and SG on parental leave entitlements.
"We completed over 26 policy submissions to government and are in the process of preparing our response to the much anticipated Retirement Income Review paper released last Friday (November 22)," said McNulty.
The luncheon's guest speaker was Rabia Siddique, a human rights lawyer and author who in 2007 sued the UK Ministry of Defence for sex discrimination and failing to acknowledge her role in a hostage rescue operation in Iraq. She won the landmark case and the high-profile news story helped precipitate new laws protecting the rights of women and homosexuals in the British military (the US followed suit).
Siddique received a standing ovation for her speech where she spoke about her own personal struggles, being a hostage survivor and being a defender of human's rights, particularly children's.
She called on the industry to do better at fulfilling their fiduciary obligations, referring to the room's attendees as 'the custodians of our people's future'.
"The financial services industry has taken a huge reputational hit and you have all paid a price for that. We need to bring the humanity back [into the system]," she said.
More than 600 guests attended the luncheon, which was held at the Hyatt regency in Sydney last Friday. The funds raised will go towards the Sydney Women's Fund and their Future Change Maker Scholarship Program.