In 1995 the Conservative government announced plans to increase women’s state pension age to 65. I wasn’t aware of it at the time – many of us weren’t – but had I known, I’d have thought it a good idea. What is the point of feminism, if not to ensure women are treated the same as men? And how can any woman expect equality unless she’s willing to be as self-sufficient and independent as any man?
Fast-forward to the present day and it all feels a little different. I remain a long way from claiming my own pension but for women born in the 1950s, changes first mooted a quarter century ago are starting to have a serious effect.
According to a recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, today’s increasing female state pension age has boosted government finances by £5.1bn per year, but left 1.1 million women in their sixties worse off by an average of £32 per week. The poorest women are being hit hardest. If this is equality, how come it feels so darn unfair?