Homeless women are mostly single women who look like everyone else
45% of single women over 45 are earning the minimum wage or less and all of these are either already homeless or at risk of homelessness, as the minimum wage is no longer able to pay the lowest rentals. 330,000 women fall into this category.
Very few are mentally ill before they become homeless, and very few are sleeping on park benches. Very few are criminals. Very few are professional beggars. They are mostly perfectly ordinary white collar workers or pensioners.
Why are single women too poor to afford housing? Women are routinely underpaid Women’s work is increasingly casualised Women are increasingly victim to age and gender discrimination in the workforce Women walk away from relationships leaving assets behind Abused women walk away from relationships with nothing
The various welfare options designed to catch everyone who falls are now shot through with serious holes, the most serious of which is that welfare payments can no longer pay for the most basic housing.
The massive inflation of house purchase prices, flows through to rentals. Pensions have remained pretty much stable, while house sale prices and the associated rents have sky-rocketed. Homeless women have devised a range of options to keep a roof over their heads . . . but these solutions are all short-term or insecure.
Homeless women are not getting the help they need from public and social housing providers.
Most of the conversation is about old men on park benches. Some of the conversation is about young couples getting their first mortgage who are not currently homeless. Very little of the conversation is about solutions for those on low incomes and who simply need secure rental at prices they can afford.
This IS a national emergency that requires a nationally coordinated crisis response.
There is enough existing housing for everyone: it’s just not affordable. https://womensagenda.com.au/life/this-is-the-disturbing-truth-you-need-to-know-about-womens-homelessness/
Every International Women’s Day, or when Australia Day honours are handed out, we ruefully observe that, despite decades of feminism, equal opportunity laws and a higher percentage of female tertiary graduates than male ones, we still have a gender pay gap and far fewer women in positions of power. We consider overt and covert discrimination, sexual harassment and other barriers to women’s advancement. Yet the central reason that the revolution is unfinished is right there under our noses in everyday life: women’s unpaid work.
Waring wrote Counting for Nothing. Gross domestic product, in excluding the unpaid labour of one gender, Waring tells me, is based upon “an ideology of applied patriarchy”. Because GDP only looks at activities in the marketplace it counts the work of drug dealers but not of hospice volunteers, the production of nuclear weapons but not women’s unpaid work. Human activities of great value are made invisible, treated as valueless. One of Waring’s famous examples is breastfeeding. Despite all we know about the benefits of breast milk, Waring pointed out that the more manufactured formula milk replaces breastfeeding, the more it adds to GDP. Since GDP is equated with progress, a loss is defined as a gain.
Long before our societies began to come to terms with climate change, Waring had already pointed out the terrible consequences of not valuing our environment. Economics did not count the preservation for future generations of our irreplaceable natural environment: air that is safe to breathe, clean and plentiful water, and pristine, undamaged ecosystems. Instead it counted and valued all those activities – the work of polluting industries and coalmines, even the clean-up of oil spills – that placed it in peril.
Waring’s influence was, and is still, significant. She has advised governments around the world and inspired human rights organisations. The System of National Accounts was revised in 1993 to include more aspects of subsistence farming, partly in response to Waring’s critique, and revised again in 2008, but “what remained utterly consistent was what was not counted”: unpaid work. The System of National Accounts made provision for separate but consistent satellite accounts that give an imputed value to this unpaid women’s work so it can be measured alongside GDP. An Australian Bureau of Statistics study in 2014 revealed that unpaid work in Australia was worth $434 billion, equivalent to 43.5 per cent of GDP.
In March this year, Tanya Plibersek announced the Australian Labor Party’s commitment, if elected, to giving the ABS the $15.2 million it would need for time use surveys in 2020 and 2027. Citing the 2016 census figures, Plibersek said the average woman did 14 hours of housework and family organisation per week and the average man fewer than five, while women did three quarters of the child care, and 70 per cent of caring for elderly or disabled family members or friends. “The Australian economy, Australian society, rests upon women’s unpaid work,” said Plibersek. “As Marilyn Waring – the founder of feminist economics – once said, ‘What we don’t count, counts for nothing.’” https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2018/may/1525096800/anne-manne/making-women-s-unpaid-work-count?
The so called “motherhood penalty” is more deeply entrenched than I thought in Australia, and it’s getting worse.
According to the Diversity Council, which regularly produces a report looking at the drivers of the gender pay gap, the influence of years not working, i.e. career interruptions, usually related to the birth of children, has more than doubled since the Diversity Council first researched the drivers of the gender pay gap ten years ago.
What’s more, Australia has some of the highest part-time work rates for women in the world, according to the OECD. Only Switzerland and the Netherlands outrank us. And to round things out, 1 in 2 women report experiencing discrimination while pregnant, on maternity leave or when they return to work, and they are spending up to twice as much time on unpaid domestic housework as men.
I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t already know when I point out that over the course of a lifetime, this adds up to the ultimate “motherhood penalty”, with women retiring with on average half the superannuation as men. Older single women are the fastest growing group of people falling into homelessness. https://womensagenda.com.au/business/31938/
When the Wages for Housework (WFH) campaign exploded onto the international feminist stage, it sparked the first debate on unwaged caring labour that women are forced into due to the social roles they are expected to perform. It demanded money from the State as compensation for the labour that was not merely a “role” that women were performing, but formed the backbone of the economy due to the physical and emotional investment made by women into housework.
“All I knew was that the basic weakness of women was that we did work that was unwaged and that payment for that work was absolutely central to our autonomy- to our right to have children and our right not to have children, to pay equity”, says Selma.
It was the 1972 seminal publication, The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, co-written with the feminist Mariarosa Dalla Costa, that first theorised housework and caring work as unwaged labour that women are forced to do; the very labour whose output supports the working class and through it, the market economy. Soon after, Selma James launched into praxis.
In fact, in May of 2015, the tongue-in-cheek Twitter hashtag #GiveYourMoneyToWomen went viral. Initiated by Lauren Chief Elk, it highlighted how women’s time and attention is often taken for granted, and suggested that if it were in such high demand, perhaps it deserved to be paid for. https://www.eyeartcollective.com/the-struggle-keeps-you-going-selma-jamesfounder-of-international-wages-for-housework-campaign-talks-trump-pay-equity-and-more/
A shift is underway when it comes to the gender pay gap in Australia: opaque is on the out and transparency is creeping in.
This week two leading professional services firms, Ernst & Young and PwC, disclosed the pay gaps that exist between men and women in their respective organisations, for the first time.
The shift towards transparency follows the British government’s introduction, in 2017, of mandatory reporting of the pay gap in organisations that employ more than 250 people last year. The deadline for disclosure is the 4th April this year and around two-thirds of relevant employers have already complied.
It is a significant change because the historic lack of transparency around remuneration has long allowed the pay gap to flourish unchallenged. It has allowed the nebulous theory that the pay gap is myth to continue. The clarity that actual numbers deliver nips that in the bud and brings accountability to the table. https://womensagenda.com.au/latest/move-towards-transparency-will-help-shrink-gender-pay-gap/
Playing Minecraft as a pacifist vegetarian is technically possible, but the game design generally rewards those players who murder animals for meat (e.g., meat staves off starvation longer than vegetables and bread)—put another way, players are rewarded for treating the landscape and everything on it as a resource ripe for harvesting by way of punching, stabbing, shooting, etc.
In the process of overcoming enemies and colonizing the land, the player character is elevated in their heroic status on the frontier. The land and trophy items that a player collects—diamond armor, Ghast tears, enchanted weapons, etc.—further serve to symbolize power, progress, and accomplishment.
In privileging Minecraft players who assimilate with the player character—as a weapon-wielding, diamond-mining, meat-eating machine—game designers at Mojang marginalize players who want to find other ways of surviving, community building, and playing with mobs that don’t align with a colonial paradigm. https://feministgames.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/gender-and-minecraft-console-ing-passions-2014/
Now that the trickle of sexual abuse and exploitation revelations against British aid organisations has turned into a flood, much can be discerned by the language used: the way some of the alleged victims of Oxfam staff in countries such as Haiti are being described as “child prostitutes”, when people who have sex with children below the legal age of consent are, in fact, rapists.
In my experience, particularly in the aftermath of disaster, when foreigners are sometimes the only source of resources, women seek from them any help they can get. What’s emerging now is that handouts have been offered, allegedly, in exchange for sexual favours. It’s a transaction that is obviously unequal and exploitative.
[W]e have remained utterly uninterested in the thousands of incidents of UN peacekeeper sexual abuse that have emerged over the past decade, including a rape-for-food initiative in Central African Republic, a child-sexual-abuse ring in Haiti, regular sexual assaults of girls as young as 12 in Liberia, and other incidents whose depravity is hard to grasp, such as the time blue helmets are alleged to have tied up four young girls and made them have sex with a dog.
Women in 24 countries were asked to rate the amount of housework they did each day in terms of their perceived “fair share” and they also ranked their physical health levels, over a two-year period.
The study, published in the Sex Roles journal, shows that that women working long job hours are more likely to report decreased physical health and that this relationship is moderated by the hours and fairness perceptions of household labor.
The report concludes that how women feel about the distribution of housework really matters.
In the realm of domestic labour women reign supreme…and yet it is women who are becoming ill from the guilt when they perceive they are not doing enough?
The Agenda outlined goals addressing greater peace, equality, and sustainability but such goals have met fierce obstacles with the rise of global conflict, exclusion and environmental instability As a result, women are experiencing significant hardships across many regions.