Women stand to lose the most from pandemic package
By: YWCA Australia
YWCA Australia Chief Executive Officer Michelle Phillips is urging the Federal Government to create a specific COVID-19 payment for eligible women, rather than leaving them no choice but to tap into their meagre retirement nest eggs.
"Australian women retire with 42 per cent less in superannuation than their male counterparts,"
"We already know that nearly 40 per cent of single retired women live in poverty and that women aged over 50 are the fastest growing group of people at risk of homelessness in Australia.
"Drawing on their superannuation when the market is low to weather the COVID-19 storm will consign even more women to an impoverished retirement."
Ms Phillips said women comprised more than two-thirds of all part-time employees in Australiai, and up to 85 per cent of employees in the not-for-profit sectorii, placing them amongst the lowest paid and most vulnerable in the labour market. With the gender pay gap, they received 14 per cent less in earnings than their male counterparts.
"Women are more likely to work part-time or in casual roles because they are also more likely to be filling unpaid caregiving roles such as raising children and caring for elderly or sick family members," she said.
"Women are also more likely to live in single-parent households and to experience housing stress. They make up most public housing tenants and Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) recipients.
"We are urging the Government to ensure that emergency funding and welfare support is directed at the most vulnerable people in our communities and that includes single mothers, women on low incomes, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
"Just as the Commonwealth is assisting big businesses and banks at this time, we are calling for it to also help those women who are financially disadvantaged and at risk of being pushed into poverty to survive the impacts of this pandemic."
Ms Phillips said YWCA Australia welcomed the Federal Government's measures to increase unemployment and other income support payments, saying it would assist some women to retain their jobs.