Terese Edwards, the chief executive of the National Council of Single Mothers and Their Children, said the $550-a-fortnight supplement had been “life-altering” and its reduction was causing “distress and fear”.
She pointed to a survey of 600 single mothers conducted by the organisation that found the income boost had reduced stress for 88% of respondents because they could now afford to pay their bills.
Toni Wren, the executive director of Anti-Poverty Week, said government data showed about 1.1 million children lived in families receiving the supplement in July.
That included 500,000 children whose parents were receiving the jobseeker payment.
“Our main concern is that now it is one-in-five Australian children whose parents are receiving that payment,” Wren said.
Enough already. When people try to be cheerful about social distancing and working from home, noting that William Shakespeare and Isaac Newton did some of their best work while England was ravaged by the plague, there is an obvious response: Neither of them had child-care responsibilities.
For those with caring responsibilities, an infectious-disease outbreak is unlikely to give them time to write King Lear or develop a theory of optics. A pandemic magnifies all existing inequalities (even as politicians insist this is not the time to talk about anything other than the immediate crisis). Working from home in a white-collar job is easier; employees with salaries and benefits will be better protected; self-isolation is less taxing in a spacious house than a cramped apartment. But one of the most striking effects of the coronavirus will be to send many couples back to the 1950s. Across the world, women’s independence will be a silent victim of the pandemic.
Leaders, parents, workers, educators and community organisations are joining forces to call for a universally accessible early education system.
The campaign is supported by Goodstart Early Learning, Early Childhood Australia, ARACY, The Mitchell Institute, the ACTU, The United Workers Union, The Australia Institute, The Parenthood, Chief Executive Women, The Centre for Social Impact, The Smith Family, ACOSS and more.
By global standards the cost of childcare in Australia is prohibitively expensive. Combined with our tax system it actively disincentivises women from working beyond three days a week.
According to a report released in March this year by think tank Per Capita ‘Measure for Measure. Gender Equality in Australia’ 34% of single women (divorced, widowed or never married) are living in poverty by the age of 60. That number rises to 50% of them once they are living on the aged pension. These figures are pre-COVID.
For as long as I can remember, women have been told that a man is not a financial plan, but when I look at my contemporaries and who is secure and who is at risk, it seems that is a big fat lie.
The job stimulus packages offered by our government are so entirely focussed on male-dominated industries that it almost feels like they are trolling us. They even keep being referred to as ‘shovel-ready’ jobs. To absolutely rub women’s noses in it, the first group of workers removed from Jobkeeper were childcare workers – overwhelmingly underpaid women. No one has been able to explain the logic of singling them out.
As I have said before, in today’s Australia we tell older women ‘look, its lovely you put the needs of your kids, elderly relatives and anyone else in need of care ahead of yourself, thanks for that. Now, can you just go and live in your car?’
Mums would earn an extra $150,000 over their working lives if the federal government spent another $5 billion on annual childcare subsidies, new research suggests.
But while the report says the government should slash childcare costs to boost workforce participation, it stopped short of calling for universal free child care and described a subsidy increase as more realistic.
This is mainly because introducing free child care overnight would lead to such a massive boost in demand that providers would struggle to cope, Ms Griffiths said.
Men don’t oppress women because they think they are stupid, incompetent, weak or incapable – they oppress women because they know that we aren’t any of those things. They know that given the chance, we will change the world in several ways which will permanently dismantle male supremacy. And they don’t want that.
The control of female sexuality
Patriarchal control has achieved this by ensuring that women and girls self-sexualise from 7 years old (according to APA, 2007), that women and girls believe and employ rape myths towards themselves and other women, blame themselves (and blame other women and girls) for the sexual and domestic violence of men (Taylor, 2020).
No one has to work very hard to control or manipulate women and girls who already view themselves as sex objects to be used, abused, controlled or enjoyed by men.
The control of female fertility
The patriarchy has long sought to control the reproductive power of women. They understand that they are not capable of the reproductive process without female bodies, hence why there is more and more experimental medical research exploring how to create wombs to gestate human babies in. And more and more fetishisation of female reproductive systems, periods, pregnancy, birth and motherhood.
[W]e have an entire industry of surrogacy which literally sells access to wombs for wealthy people – in which the majority of surrogates are women in less economically developed countries, being exploited for very little in poor conditions, to have babies for someone else who cannot or does not want to. Women’s fertility is not only controlled, but it has been commodified to the point that women are being used as paid-for containers, gestators and womb-havers.
The control of women in government
In general, women are not in control of the world at any significant level, despite making up 51% of the global population. At least, we should expect to be half of all world power. The reality is much less equal. Women make up 8% of national leaders, and within that, 2% of world presidents. Women only make up around 4% of the Fortune 500 CEOs. In the UK in 2020, women make up 5% of the FTSE 100. That’s 5 female CEOs.
The control of women in justice and justice for women
In a world in which 97% of crime is committed by men (according to international statistics collected by the FBI in 2017), it seems odd that men also make up the majority of lawmakers, judges, police chiefs, police commissioners, legislators and senators.
Women are hugely underrepresented in crime. Women make up just over half of the world population but commit 3% of the crime. When women are imprisoned, it is largely due to non-violent offences such as possession of drugs, non-payment of council tax and financial fraud.
However, more and more data is showing that crimes committed against women are going unpunished. We know that the current conviction rate of rape is just 0.2% in the UK, leading to the current inquiries lobbied for by the Centre for Women’s Justice.
So why the disparity here? What would happen if women were more in control of the justice systems? The pattern should be becoming clear by now, that keeping women out of power and influence is important for the upkeep of the patriarchy.
The control of women’s language and spaces
One of the most effective ways of stopping women and girls from taking control of their lives is to limit their language and spaces to do so. If women cannot talk about female oppression anymore, they cannot challenge it or protest. If women cannot define themselves as class of humans that need rights, support and protection, then they will not be able to secure these things. This movement is deliberate. If the word ‘woman’ begins to mean nothing (anyone can define themselves into and out of it) then the laws, legislation and policies pertaining to the advancement and equality of women will mean nothing.
The pressure on women to be perfect in everything they did was intense during this era and present at every stage in life. Household products were pitched directly at women, rather than men, and the marketing message was clear – ‘Brand X’ will help you win over that man and guarantee you’ll keep him.
The period of the late-1950s going into the 1960s saw a recovering economy, greater availability of ‘luxury’ items, the introduction of television, widespread migration and a growing women’s movement. There was a shift in culture and more relaxed social attitudes but the advertising industry continued to employ strictly defined gender roles whenever it thought they might be helpful in targeting different demographics.
The coronavirus outbreak has had devastating health, economic and social consequences for many Australians. In paid and unpaid work, women have been disproportionately impacted. Many of the gendered inequalities that existed in the pre-COVID-19 world of work – like the overrepresentation of women in lower-paid, insecure jobs and the uneven distribution of unpaid domestic labour – have been exacerbated by the global pandemic.
Women have been the essential frontline workers of the COVID-19 crisis
Women are disproportionately losing work and pay
Women are doing (even) more unpaid work at home
With billions of dollars earmarked for “shovel ready” infrastructure and housing construction projects, the Australian government may be digging holes the economy cannot fill. In contrast, investments in highly feminised sectors, which represent some of the biggest areas of employment growth and which help take some of care load off individual households, are much more likely to pay off in terms of getting people back to work and in providing economic benefit.
And while the coronavirus crisis has seen a large increase in all demographics, the number of women over 55 on the now ‘JobSeeker’ rate has risen by over 60 per cent in the last year.
On average, women retire with just over half the superannuation savings than men do. But worse, one in three women retire with no super at all.
And this government’s early access super scheme will only exacerbate that problem, further depleting retirement savings.