Women in Poverty

7 Mar, 2018

Poverty in Australia has a feminine face. In our country, 33% of single parents live below the poverty line and the majority of these are women. Studies have found that 40% of retired single women live below the poverty line.

When it comes to our CAP clients, 22% are single mums and a further 21% are single women. Older women are more likely to experience poverty than any group in Australia. Women retire with half the savings of men and are two and a half times as likely to live in poverty in their old age compared to men.

There are many reasons Aussies face poverty and the factors are often complex and hidden. However, for women, the leading cause is domestic and family violence.

Many survivors end up inheriting and paying their partner’s debts and left with no choice some women even return to an abusive relationship because of financial insecurity. Wendy, one of our clients is a survivor of domestic abuse.

Wendy’s Story
“I left my husband and took my two boys to a safehouse. From there we were homeless for a while and wandered from place to place. There was always more going out than coming in. Soon I was in dire straits. I had racked up credit, I had people chasing me and I was in the red. When I called CAP, right from the beginning, God was moving. The day I found out I was debt free it was like walking on a cloud. I felt freedom and relief and I cried.”

Many women take on the unpaid care responsibilities that come with having children, because of this they earn less throughout their life and are financially dependent on their spouses. After divorce this is a recipe for debt and poverty. This was a reality faced by Mia, one of our clients after her husband left her.

Mia’s Story
“He didn’t prepare in any way, shape or form to look after the family as a father. He didn’t even say ‘Goodbye, I am never going to see you again’. There was no discussion at all about finances. There was no way to ensure there was something to depend on. I felt incredibly embarrassed. I didn’t sleep a full night for probably 6 years.”

Today is International Women’s Day and the theme this year is Press for Progress. At CAP we want to see more women released from debt and poverty. Will you join us?

“Learn to do right, seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; Plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17, NIV

1 https://www.acoss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Poverty-in-Australia-2016.pdf

2 https://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/document/publication/AHRC_conversation_gender_equality_2017_2.pdf

3 https://www.goodshep.org.au/media/1421/financial-security-for-survivors-of-domestic-and-family-violence_march2016.pdf