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ANZ to women: Don’t get mad, get even

The figures aren’t new – Kiwi women earn on average $300 a week less than men (that’s $600,000 over a lifetime), and have significantly smaller savings when they retire. At the same time they outlive men – so spend more time living off their (smaller) retirement funds.

What is new, is a bank teaming up with an award-winning film director to get the message across to women to get their retirement act together.

ANZ this week released a (very) short movie commissioned from award-winning filmmaker Jane Campion to coincide with the launch of the bank’s Wise Women retirement planning website and its #equalfuture social media campaign.

The campaign aims to highlight the dismal stats around the male/female pay gap, and the average woman’s woeful lack of preparedness for retirement.

Oh, and the bank probably wouldn’t mind upselling a few of its 300,000 female KiwiSaver customers.

Campion’s movie – set for circulation via social media, rather than the small (or big) screen – features a bunch of young girls (including a spectacular eight-year-old Japanese karate black belt) in what looks like an empty warehouse, being sad and stroppy by turn about the fact that girls’ brains develop faster than boys, yet women end up with significantly lower lifetime earnings and almost 50% less superannuation than their male counterparts.

ANZ’s general manager of wealth products Ana-Marie Lockyer says research in New Zealand suggests only 34% of women are confident about reaching their retirement goals, compared with 55% of men, and women earn on average $600,000 less than men over a lifetime, and tend to have much less saved by the time they leave work.

This deficit is exacerbated by the fact women live longer, so spend more years living off their retirement savings.

“Across our KiwiSaver scheme, the average savings for women are less than $9000, 28% lower than men. If this continues, women will retire with $60,000 less than men.

“In addition, more women than men are in a conservative Kiwisaver scheme, so could end up $90,000 worse off than if they were in a different scheme.”

The #equalfutures movie project was led from ANZ headquarters in Australia, but the company picked Campion as the leader of a mainly female crew for the project.

A second video features former world tennis number one Martina Navratilova.

Lockyer says there are no plans for the Campion movie to be used as a TV commercial; instead ANZ is encouraging women to send it out via social media.

“We think it’s about having a conversation; people talking about it. We don’t want to be preaching about it. There are no right answers in this – everyone makes their own decisions.”

The bank will donate $1 to an international women’s development charity for every post at #equalfuture, up to a maximum of $A100,000.

Lockyer says the success of the campaign will be measured in a number of ways, one of which will be any increase in the KiwiSaver contributions from its 300,000 female customers.

“That’s more a measure for us of whether the message is getting through. It’s not something where we are setting targets.

As well as the #equalfuture campaign and the Wise Women website, ANZ announced it would be paying the KiwiSaver employer contributions for all its staff on paid parental leave – and it is encouraging other companies to do the same.

See behind the scenes at the shooting of the Jane Campion short here:

Chief editor at Idealog, Nikki's a veteran in the journalism industry. A former lecturer at AUT University, she was the chief reporter at NZ weekly business publication The Independent and was deputy editor of Canadian publication Unlimited magazine.

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