8 June 2016
Money for Jam:
Enabling women over 50 at risk of poverty to create financial wellbeing through micro-enterprise
One third of older women in Australia live in permanent income poverty. This is a damning statistic for one of the richest countries in the world. Older women are particularly vulnerable financially for a variety of social and structural reasons, including a lack of appropriate employment services pervasive age and gender discrimination, family breakdown and interrupted careers due to child raising and other caring responsibilities.
Although micro-enterprise is often promoted as an option for income generation to long term unemployed people, for example through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), many older women do not identify with what they see as the masculine world and language of business. Yet, their life experience demonstrates resilience and resourcefulness, aspects that can translate well into small business ownership with the right amount and type of guidance.
The Centre for Applied Policy in Positive Ageing (CAPPA) has developed a unique solution to greater economic participation for women over 50 who are at risk of poverty and are dependent on government support. Â the support program, called Money for Jam, will help these women achieve greater financial security through micro-enterprise and reduce the risk of permanent income poverty in their late 60s and beyond.
The Money For Jam program design is informed by an in-depth understanding of 13 women’s life stories, current circumstances, needs and barriers. It harnesses the resilience and resourcefulness that the women have developed in their journeys through hardship, and adapts these to income generation. The program delivers emotional wellbeing strengthening as well as personalised one-on-one practical support for micro-enterprise start-up. The use of adaptive language and an approach of taking action of plans also distinguishes Money For Jam from other available programs. Most importantly, the support program takes the reality of women’s lives into consideration, including their strengths, limitations and other priorities.
CAPPA is now ready to pilot Money For Jam and is seeking collaborators with skin in the game who want to be part of this journey toward an innovative solution to this critical issue.