IN RESPONSE to the letter ‘Is it really so unequal’ (March 28), WASPI stands for ‘Women Against State Pension Injustice’ – we do, however, protest under the banners of both injustice and inequality.

The author of letter did not appear to get a satisfactory answer to his query ‘why do women retire at 60?’ The reason was that in 1940 the State Pension Age (SPA) for women dropped to 60 (from 65) so that the ‘married rate’ could be paid to as many couples as possible.

Previously, the married rate could only be paid if both parties in the couple were 65, the majority of men finding that they had to wait until they were much older, as their wives were younger than them. Men thought that this was not fair to them.

Regarding injustice, the 1995 Pension Act put in place measures to increase women’s SPA to 65 over a ten-year period from 2010 to 2020. Notices ‘advising’ of this were put in some daily newspapers, but a five-year notice period was already too short for many.

The 2011 Pension Act then accelerated this – for which no notice was given. It is this latter for which we are seeking justice. To be clear, we are not asking for the SPA to go back to 60. The SPA has also risen over the age of 65 and is rising. Many women are still unaware of this

Regarding inequality, 1950s-born women were not given the same opportunities as their male counterparts, both educationally and in the workplace. Career choices were very limited and university education for women was rare.

We were not paid equally (and still are not - look at the recent exposure of the NHS and look at the figures on the Office of National Statistics website) and we were not given the same promotion opportunities. Our incomes, over our working lives, average more than £300,000 less than our male counterparts (analysis based on ONS figures)

Men receive an average £29,000 more State Pension over a 20-year retirement period than women (‘Which’ magazine, based on data received from the Department of Work and Pensions).

Regarding life expectancy, for women this has decreased in recent years with the gap between rich and poor widening significantly - 7.5 years (British Medical Journal).

I’m afraid to say that we are all dying younger.

I hope this dispels some of the myths that Mr Hackney has been labouring under. However, if he would like further enlightenment, he is welcome to email us – he may be surprised to find that some of us are actually, despite being women, ‘reasonably intelligent’.

We will also, of course, welcome any 1950s-born women suffering this injustice to join us

Jane Hopwood

Women Against State Pension Injustice (Lancaster and South Lakes Supporters Group)