A “lifetime of gender discrimination” combined with rising rental prices have made older women particularly vulnerable, says Susan Ryan, Australia’s former Age Discrimination Commissioner. “Women experience employment discrimination at every stage,” Susan said in a recent address as part of a St Vincent de Paul lecture. “They earn less, typically are restricted to lower paid jobs which produce lower levels of superannuation, they do not get fair access to training, and [they] are blocked from promotion to senior roles.
“When they have children, they get only minimal financial support for parental leave, then face barriers returning to paid work,” she continued. “Typically it is women who undertake caring roles for elderly parents and family members with disability, often needing to leave the workforce entirely to provide this care. Most of this caring work is unpaid, or attracts only a small benefit, and with no superannuation.”