Most of the poor people in the world are women. In no country on earth are women economically equal to men, and Australia is no exception. Research from ACOSS and the University of New South Wales last year showed that a higher share of people living in poverty in Australia are women.
The experience of living below the breadline in our very wealthy nation is a gendered one, for reasons that are complex and intertwined. As women progress through life, they encounter a series of barriers and setbacks that simply do not encumber men in the same way.
The cause of gendered poverty is structural. It is entrenched in our workplace settings, and embedded in our personal relationships. It is at play at every stage of a woman’s life, from childhood to the grave, making its mark on our education, our employment, our homes, our familial responsibilities and our retirement options.
At its heart is the simple fact that women do the lion’s share of caring for others. Caring is women’s work, and our society does not value women’s work.