At the Women's Electoral Lobby we believe in economic equality and financial stability for women. Our work to enhance women's financial empowerment includes campaigns around pay equity, affordable housing, tax reform, superannuation and paid parental leave.
Women still do not have equal access and opportunities in employment. In Australia the gender pay gap between the average full time earnings of men and women sits at of 16.2%. This discrepancy in earnings continues throughout women’s live with women’s average super payout at just one third of the average man’s. Increasing casualisation and the lack of ability to access flexible working arrangement impacts on women’s capacity to engage in paid employment as they often have caring responsibilities. Employees right to access flexible working arrangements need to be enforceable and paid parental leave must be extended to provide adequate leave and include superannuation.
Read more - WEL's Pay Equity Policy Document
Flexibility and Job Security
Caring work and unpaid informal caring are crucial to the social and economic fabric of Australia. ABS research in 2012 shows there are 2.7 million people providing informal unpaid care to older people, people with a disability, and people with a health problem. 56% are women, and 20% are 55-64. 18.5% of Australians have a disability. 1.4 million have a profound or severe limitation of mobility, self-care or communication (ABS 4430 2012).
Providing unpaid care has a significant impact on carers’ workforce participation, particularly for women, who are much more likely than men to be primary carers throughout the course of their lives. Many women work part time or casually, to accommodate caring. 46% of women employees work part time and 53% of part time employees are casual (ABS 6333 2014). Part time and casual work often involve considerable workforce disadvantage, in progression, job security and remuneration, and in retirement incomes.
WEL's work in this space aims to ensure that vulnerable women (including older women, low income earning women, women transitioning from prison, homelessness, and domestic violence) have access to safe and dignified housing.
The availability of affordable, suitable and secure housing for all Australians is critical for achieving social justice and cohesion. It is of particular concern for women who are disproportionately represented amongst lower income earners and as the victims of domestic and family violence, and who are more likely to be responsible for the upbringing of children. There is also a higher rate of poverty among older women living alone or needing aged care. Yet a significant number of Australians, mainly low to moderate income earners, are suffering from housing stress or homelessness.
Article by WEL NSW Executive Member, Mary O'Sullivan on the NSW Inquiry into Elder Abuse (December 2015)
The WEL/OWN submission is also one of the only submissions so far to link housing stress and homelessness amongst older women with their experiences of abuse and violence. In doing so the submission draws on research from OWN, the Mercy Foundation and WEL’s 2015 Affordable Housing Policy.