The married womens’ rate of national insurance was abolished in May 1977 but the repercussions of that archaic legislation is still felt by thousands of women. National insurance in relation to women was based on usually the breadwinner in a marriage, the man.
A woman’s employment was secondary and more likely seen as earning “pin money”.
Women could choose to pay the full national insurance rate and “married woman’s stamp”. If women opted to pay less then they would save on a couple of quid but it would impact on their later pension. It would be assumed that the married woman would rely on her husband’s pension.
This lack of a full state pension is affecting women hitting retirement age now. Even when it was abolished in 1977, women still could continue to pay the lower rate of NI.
Age Concern, argue that women were given bad advice from employers and from the Pension Service. The government has no plans to rectify this inequality. The Lords overwhelmingly voted to amend the Pensions Act 2007 to allow some women to buy back into the full NI scheme. It would cost the government £30million a year, a drop in the financial ocean to rescue women from the potential grip of poverty.
Women are still not full independent equal human beings to men. The Equal Pay Act was over thirty years ago yet women are still paid less then men and it is a scandal that married women are still seen in terms of their husbands.These women face a double whammy as they were paid a fraction of what men earned during the post-war years and now many don’t have money in their own right instead are appendages of their husbands. And some women will have to rely on means tested benefits.The pensions scandal exposes an entrenched form of sexism from the 1940s still reverberating in 2008.