Solent Waspi women will 'not be silenced' as they mark International Women's Day
CAMPAIGNING women across the Solent will 'not be silenced' as they continue to fight for equality this International Women's Day.
Members of the local branch of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) group have marked the event by saying they will 'not be ignored' in their mission for compensation for 'discriminatory' changes to pensions for those born in the 1950s.
It is thought that more than 116,000 women in Hampshire were hit by the changes, which saw some of them have as much as six years added to their state pension age.
Shelagh Simmons, the co-ordinator of Solent Waspi, said: 'Whatever the reason, our campaign activities have revealed a shocking level of misogyny and vitriol directed at us by a vocal minority. Sadly, we cannot convince the wilfully ignorant who will not grasp that we have never had equality and certainly don’t have it now.
'But we can share our personal stories that clearly demonstrate the facts for those who are willing to see them. They show that our life experiences have left us economically and socially disadvantaged by the maladministration of our state pensions.
'So, this International Women’s Day 2021, we are speaking up for older women. We are continuing our campaign for state pension justice. We will not be ignored. And we will not be silenced.
'Women of the Waspi campaign are not going away.'
To mark the event on March 8, members of the group shared their experiences of inequality throughout their lives.
One woman said: 'The reason I was excluded from joining my occupational pension scheme was an example of indirect sexism.
'Part-timers were excluded from many public sector pensions until the 1990s. Women are more likely than men to be part-time.'
Another added: 'I don't object to getting my pension at the same age as men, but anyone who thinks women ever retired at 60 really hasn't got a clue.
'We may have got our state pension at 60 but we still carried on with all the unpaid work, caring for others and doing all the domestic chores. Much the same as we do now, except now we're expected to stay in paid work too.'
Solent Waspi has suspended usual outdoor campaigning activities due to the pandemic.