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Poverty is the new norm for households where women are the main income earners

Poverty is the new norm for households where women are the main income earners.

Poverty is the new norm for many women and children today where women are the main income earners. They are twice as likely to be living below the poverty line as a household in which a male is the main income earner.

These are the findings from a report The Poverty in Australia 2020: Part 2 – Who is affected?  by the Australian Council of Social Service and UNSW. The report included those with disabilities, and those from culturally and ethnically diverse communities.

The report highlighted a number of factors leading to this situation:

  • More than a third of single mothers and their children live in poverty (37%). This has serious implications for the well-being of these women and their children.
  • COVID 19 has particularly affected the employment opportunities for women and only effective policy action will ensure that this does not translate into further reductions in unemployment rates for women, leading to poverty for more women and children.
  •  Stopping childcare and income support for these women will impact on those families who will return to below poverty line incomes.
  •  The pre-COVID $40 a day unemployment payment is grossly inadequate. The doubling of Job Seeker as a response to COVID 19 has ‘transformed’ peoples’ lives.
  • The report suggests that a pathway out of the pandemic could be a pathway out of poverty by setting a permanent income floor above the poverty line.
  • Renters are twice as likely to live below the poverty line.
  • Permanently lifting social security payments, boosting job growth, investing in public housing and available childcare will help lift families out of poverty.
  • If current income support payments cease in September without an adequate replacement, the rates of both Newstart and Parenting Payments families will once again slip below the poverty line.

Responding to the report Dr. Carla Treloar, Director of the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney has stated that this report clearly shines a light on those groups most at risk and it reveals that there is a disproportionate impact on women and children who are not currently in work.

Dr. Treloar is concerned that a safety net is needed to lift these families out of poverty, which would mean a doubling of unemployment payments, and devising solutions on social housing and job creation to lift people out of poverty, with a strong emphasis on women and their children.

This article has been prepared by Maddy Walter, Marketing. The information provided should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should speak with Rosa Raco directly about your specific circumstances via email rraco@wrlaw.com.au or phone 03 54996131