Women's superannuation balances are increasing, but the gender gap is getting bigger

Alex Ritchie

Alex Ritchie

( 3 min read )

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The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) have released an analysis that shows while the average super balances for women are increasing, they are still well behind that of men – and the gap is growing. 

The ASFA found that the average balance of Australians in 2015-16 was $111,853 for men and $68,499 for women. 

These figures are up compared to the 2013-14 period, where the average balance for men was $98,535 and $54,916 for women. This is even higher than the 2011-12 period, where the average balance for men was $82,615 and $44,866 for women.


Source: Data from The Association of Superannuation Funds

However, when you compare the average balances between 2011-12 to 2015-16, the gap between men and women increased, and then fell, but only barely. This highlights that while the value of women’s superannuation balances has increased alongside men’s, there is still a lot of work to be done to reduce the growing gender superannuation gap.

Year Men Women Gap Between Balances
2011-12 $81,615 $44,866 $36,749
2013-14 $98,535 $54,916 $43,619
2015-16 $111,853 $68,499 $43,354


Source: Data from The Association of Superannuation Funds

ASFA CEO, Dr Martin Fahy, has stated that addressing the disparity between the super balances of women and men was “an imperative for greater social equality and better outcomes for all in retirement.”

“While women can look forward to retiring with more superannuation than their mothers and grandmothers, the ongoing issue of broken employment patterns and a troubling persistent gender pay gap means we cannot afford to be complacent.

“Women are still retiring with substantially lower balances. Average superannuation balances at the time of retirement (assumed to be age 60 to 64) in 2015–16 were $270,710 for men and $157,050 for women.

“In 2013–14, there were averages of $292,500 for men and $138,150 for women.

What can we do to reduce the gap?

In terms of reducing the gender superannuation gap, Dr Fahy warned that lifting the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) to 12 per cent needs to happen “sooner rather than later to adequately address the glaring lack of sufficient super suffered by so many Australians.”

“Many recent retirees will need to substantially rely on the Age Pension in their retirement. Phased increases in the rate of SG contributions to 12 per cent would benefit women.

“Women working in insecure employment – the so-called gig economy for example, are also impacted by the $450 per month threshold where superannuation isn’t required to be paid by employers.

“The removal of this historical anomaly will also help women in the long term,” said Dr Fahy.

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