Women Against State Pension Inequality

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Women Against State Pension Inequality
FocusCampaigning for compensation for those affected by the change in the state pension age
  • United Kingdom

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) is a voluntary UK-based organisation founded in 2015 that campaigns against the way in which the state pension age for men and women was equalised. They call for the millions of women affected by the change to receive compensation.[1][2]


The 1995 Pensions Act increased the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 in order to equalise the age with men, with the change to be phased in over ten years from 2010 for women born between 1950 and 1955.[3] This transition was later sped up by the 2011 Pensions Act.[4] Both the 1995 and 2011 changes came as a shock to many, with women discovering that they would have to wait up to six years longer for their state pension, potentially affecting their retirement plans.[2] In 2015, WASPI was formed by five women to argue for the government to provide transitional payments to women born in the 1950s receiving their pension after the age of 60.[5] They also call for compensation to women who now receive a state pension but had to wait longer.[1][2]

Three of the original founders stepped down as leaders after a split in August 2016.[6] A further three directors resigned in February 2018 following an emergency board meeting held the previous month where irreconcilable differences led to the resignations.[7]


WASPI's online petition to parliament received over 100,000 signatures resulting in a parliamentary debate on the issue of the changes to the state pension age.[8][9]

WASPI crowdfunded £100,000 to pay for legal action in order to challenge these changes.[10][11] The money was used to take legal advice and on 8 March 2017, the group wrote to the Department for Work and Pensions threatening legal action if the government did not help lessen the impact on the affected women.[12] This move coincided with International Women's Day and a march in London that many WASPI members attended.[13][14]

The organisation also has a number of groups across the country who campaign locally, including by asking their constituency MPs to sign the WASPI pledge.[15][16][17]


Since the launch of WASPI, the issue of the state pension age has become more prominent leading to its discussion in a number of parliamentary debates.[18] The issue played an important part in the 2017 general election with Labour's Jeremy Corbyn raising it in a session of Prime Minister's Questions and the SNP pledging to support the women.[19][20] However, the Conservative government rejected the calls of the WASPI, arguing that they had to make the state pension more affordable for taxpayers and requiring men to work longer than women by 5-7 years was grossly unfair and potentially illegal.[21] Furthermore, the WASPI campaign has been criticised by some commentators who point out that the change equalised pension ages and the claims of WASPI campaigners to the contrary is both sexist and unfounded.[22][23]

On 23 November 2019, Labour Party shadow chancellor John McDonnell pledged £58 billion to compensate all women born in the 1950s whose pension age was increased by the 1995 Pensions Act.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Welcome to WASPI". WASPI. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Reality Check: The fight over women's state pensions". BBC News. 30 May 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Pensions Act 1995 - Schedule 4". legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Women lose fight against delay to state pension". BBC News. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Women protesting state pension inequality paint Stroud purple". The Press. 22 November 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Waspi leadership splits, remainers ramp up campaign". FTAdviser. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Waspi directors resign due to irreconcilable differences". FTAdviser. 21 February 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Women's state pension petition wins parliamentary debate". The Guardian. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Transitional State Pension Arrangements for Women". Hansard. 1 February 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Fair State Pensions for WASPI women". CrowdJustice. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Waspi crowdfunds £100k for legal fight". FTAdviser. 8 November 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Waspi lawyer lays down gauntlet to government". FTAdviser. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  13. ^ "WASPI women protest in London over pension changes". BBC News. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  14. ^ "North-east Waspi women descend on parliament". The Press and Journal. 9 March 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Local WASPI women take part in national day of action". On The Wight. 30 May 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  16. ^ "Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI)". Caroline Lucas. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  17. ^ "WASPI Pledge". Tim Loughton MP. 9 May 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Debates in Parliament". APPG on State Pension Inequality for Women. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  19. ^ "'I'd listen to what Maureen has to say'". BBC News. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon says SNP manifesto will defend pensioners". The Scotsman. 20 May 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  21. ^ Dyson, Richard; Morley, Katie (20 September 2016). "Minister: no money for women who lost out on state pensions, and 'that's that'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  22. ^ "The WASPI campaign's unreasonable demand". Coppola Comment. 31 July 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  23. ^ Pemberton, Hugh (10 March 2017). "WASPI's Is (Mostly) a Campaign for Inequality". The Political Quarterly. 88 (3): 510–516. doi:10.1111/1467-923X.12347. hdl:1983/707a2c8c-462b-498d-9a54-1070bcc950da.
  24. ^ "General election 2019: Labour pledges payouts to pension age rise women". BBC News. 24 November 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2019.

External links[edit]