Defining the concept of economic security for all women - Policy recommendations to boost women’s economic security

Thu, 05 Jul 2018  |  

I prepared a research paper on issues associated with the economic and financial security for women. The report is being considered by the Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer and will be part of a bi-partisan parliamentary discussion on the critical policy issues associated that can be developed to enhance the economic security for women.

The report can be seen at this link: https://www.security4women.org.au/wp-content/uploads/20180625-eS4W_White-Paper_Defining-the-Concept-of-Economic-Security-for-Women.pdf 

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Defining the concept of economic security for all women & Policy recommendations to boost women’s economic security

Boosting Economic Security for All Women

OBJECTIVE: To raise awareness and contribute effectively to development and implementation of policy that impacts all women living in Australia and ensures women’s equal place in society, in the Government’s policy priority area of improving women’s economic independence and financial security.

The current policy approach to childcare, superannuation, education, jobs and financial literacy is not keeping up with changes in social attitudes, structural changes in the economy and demographic changes.

The paper brings together research and analysis of specific issues that feed into the overarching issues of economic and financial security for women. We are grateful for the efforts, thoroughness and insightful nature of that work. This paper highlights some of the policy reforms that will be needed if women’s financial and economic security is to be enhanced.

It is a next step in the process that will inevitably be built upon as steps are taken to improve economic security for women.

Economic Security for Women

One of the well-established and central platforms of economic and social policy is to deliver economic and financial security for all members of society.

Economic security entails a number of basic conditions, but has as a central underpinning an ability, throughout life, to afford to have shelter, food and basic living expenses covered. Financial security also means opening access to opportunities not only at these basic levels of living standards, but to also achieve higher levels of security and well-being through education, training and employment opportunities.

Paid employment is one of the benchmarks for financial security, but in the circumstances where many women have either sporadic or minimal opportunities to engage in paid work throughout their adult life, a government provided, broadly based, financial safety net is essential if economic security for women is to be enhanced.

Why economic security for women?

Enhancing economic and financial security for women will not be achieved by undermining and lowering economic security for men. This is not about the tradeoff.

Rather, this important issue identifies areas where women’s economic security is lower or more precarious than for men, it uncovers reasons why this is likely to have occurred and canvasses policy and other issues that can be put in place to lift the economic status and financial well-being of women.

The case for women and issues of lower economic security than men

Australia is a high-income country, with most measures of lifestyle and well-being amongst the highest in the world. Continued economic growth and rising wealth have been the hallmarks of the economy over many decades.

The benefits of these favourable economic fundamentals have not been evenly shared, with women continuing to lag men in terms of jobs, incomes and superannuation balances. There is qualitative evidence that women have a lower level of awareness and understanding about personal finances, including superannuation, than men.

The evidence for Australia confirms that women are persistently and overwhelmingly less economically secure than men.

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