BENDIGO women aged in their 40s have only half the retirement savings of men, with missed superannuation contributions on paid parental leave partly being blamed for the shortfall.
Women's superannuation balances in the electorate measure $64,500 on average in the 40-49 age bracket, compared to men's averages of $130,000 in savings at the same stage of life.
Industry Super Australia has called for superannuation on the government's scheme to be included in election promises in the lead up to the May 21 federal election.
"Bendigo women are retiring with not enough super and it's time to do something about it," ISA advocacy director Georgia Brumby said.
"Adding super to the government parental leave scheme is a small investment that will help boost the retirement savings of local women. If we don't fix this inequity, local mums will have to pay the price for decades to come."
The federal government rejected the suggestion in March, when its own retirement income reviewer put the idea forward.
Incumbent Bendigo MP, Lisa Chesters, said Labor had not released a policy on the issue, but she was personally supportive of it.
"As a mum of two young children I know first-hand how important it is for women to be able to earn super while at home in those first months after giving birth," she said. "Women should not be punished financially because they take parental leave."
It used Department of Social Services figures to show that up to 8460 Bendigo mothers had claimed the payment since 2011 and had missed out on a collective $9.5 million in retirement contributions.
"Local men and women usually start off with similar super balances - Bendigo women in their 20s have just five per cent less super than men, but when a woman reaches her 30s the gender super gap jumps to 22 per cent," Ms Brumby said.
"A recent retirement survey, commissioned by ISA, found that on average women spend 12 years less in the full-time workforce than men and this time away from work is having a dramatic impact on their super balance."
A Senate report from 2016 found that one in three Australian women retired with no super balance at all.
Bendigo Mums 4 Mums administrator Debra McMahon said the gender pay gap was forcing women to accept not only lower weekly pay, but poorer guaranteed super contributions as well.
"If the women of Bendigo were polled a lot more would tell you that they have little to no super," she said.
"And a lot of women started working well before super was mandated and it's always the women who miss out.
"Women don't have the same income level as men so their super contributions will always be lower. It's bloody hard for women to make ends meet."
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