A plan has been put forward by the National Older Women’s Housing and Homelessness Working Group, which focuses on increasing housing and financial security for older women in Australia.

Report: Retiring into Poverty | A National Plan for Change: Increasing Housing Security for Older Women

Australian women aged over 50 are at greater risk of financial and housing insecurity than older men. This has been linked to a number of compounding and systemic factors, including the gender wage gap and a persistent divide in superannuation holdings between men and women.

The report identifies that Newstart, the Age Pension and Commonwealth Rent Assistance are currently inadequate for older single women to afford housing. Commonwealth Rent Assistance is inadequate to prevent housing stress, Newstart has not been increased for over twenty years and the assumptions by which the Age Pension level was set are inconsistent with the living conditions of today’s older single women. Other factors affecting the rate of poverty among older women are discussed further in the report.

Key Recommendations

The report recommends that the Federal Government must implement a comprehensive Strategy to address the current financial insecurity of older women. The strategy must:

  • Review and rectify inequities in superannuation policy and legislation and examine the national income support system and Commonwealth Rent Assistance with a view to improving financial outcomes for women.
  • Recognise gender inequality and discrimination from a cultural perspective and within multiple policy domains to prevent deprivation in older age for women.
  • Address the underlying causes of gendered economic inequality to prevent problems for older women in the future.

To read more about the poverty faced by older Australian women and further policy recommendations, see the full report here.

(SourceMercy Foundation)

Comments are closed.