The Feminisation of Poverty

Karl FitzgeraldMultimedia3 Comments

Renegade Economists Show 481

As broadcast on the 3CR airwaves 5.30 – 6pm Wednesdays.
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Show Notes
On this special International Women’s Day episode, tune in to hear western suburbs based feminist anti poverty activists Rayna Fahey and Juanita McLaren in conversation on the feminisation of poverty. Topics for discussion include the economics of women’s work, centrelink, and the issues surrounding housing vulnerability.

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3 Comments on “The Feminisation of Poverty”

  1. Guaranteed Income will probably lead to higher house prices and more inflation–everyone will charge more knowing that there is more money floating around in the economy. There is no such thing as FREE money.

    I am saddened by stories of economic hardship and feel that it is the children who ultimately pay the price when they are raised in low economic households.

    As a father with two daughters and a stay-at-home wife, I know full well how difficult it is to raise a family on one income today–and I have a reasonably well-paid job. My wife and I made the economic decision not to have more than two children. We, too, rent as house prices are way overvalued and I do not want all of my wealth tied to one investment that might suddenly drop in price when the Real Estate Bubble finally pops in Australia. Interest rates on mortgages are going up and incomes lagging far behind for most people.

    Life is not fair (something I tell my own children all the time). As a one income family we have sacrificed exotic holidays, meals in restaurants, flash new cars and expensive clothes–it is our choice not to have two incomes but our children benefit through having more time with us and having a mother who is not continuously stressed by a career outside the home.

    We all must make decisions and live with the consequences of our actions. I must say I do resent the fact that I am required by law to pay very high taxes (no negative gearing breaks for me) on my wages and savings in the bank (now earning extremely low interest rates!!! I get taxed when I work, I get taxed when I save and I get taxed again when I spend money in the store. I do resent speculators receiving tax concession through negative gearing and low capital gains tax. We should have a land value tax system that taxes rent seekers–all other forms of taxes is theft (in my humble opinion)

    I fear that increasing the welfare state will not help society and our children in the long run. More welfare means more taxes for households like mine. I also fear that more welfare will encourage more more wives to leave their husbands and be supported by the state–let’s be honest, the state is far more attractive as a partner than many men who have annoying habits like leaving the toilet seat up. Any partner after seven years of marriage starts to look increasingly less attractive. Marriage is hard work and takes alot of compromise–it is not a walk through the garden for either men or women.

    I feel really sorry for women who choose to marry men who they later discover are abusive. I am teaching my daughters the importance of choosing a partner who is ethical, kind, caring and nurturing–the exact opposites of most Goldman Sachs banker types who makes millions of dollars each and every day by making money out of debt. I also have warned my daughters not to judge men solely on their looks or sexual charisma.

    Men and women who choose partners unwisely or without special care are likely to end up feeling miserable and cheated. Life is not fair–we must all take responsibility for the choices we make. We owe it to our children to choose good partners. I personally would like to pay less taxes to help support ofther children without fathers so that I can provide better for my children who do have a father.

  2. Children need two parents. What can we do to support couples so that divorce levels in this country can be reduced? The high cost of housing is certainly a stress on most modern relationships.

    We need to be realistic with our children and tell them that they can’t always have everything. People who have everything probably made wise choices and had lots of good luck. Most of us will occasionally make bad choices and experience bad luck.

    Extended family and support from friends or neighbours is crucial for the health of our children.

  3. Hi Winston.

    Yes, there is a whole lot of divorce going on these days and 48,000 children become part of a broken marriage annually in this country – that has been the annual figure for the last decade. Unfortunately it all started when the divorce laws changed to a no blame policy in the 70s because before that the couple had to prove infidelity, or violence, or financial neglect etc and too many high profile people were having their dirty laundry hung out for public consumption. Now children don’t have to sit and watch the violence or turbulence of marriage gone wrong, but either way, kids cost money, and if one parent is doing the labour, where does the money ultimately come from?

    These situations don’t happen overnight, and ‘wise choices’ can often be side swiped by circumstances out of your control. For example, you and your wife have chosen to have a single income so one of you can be present in the home and one at work. But what if there was only one of you? Which would you prioritise – the income or the parenting? How would you choose to fit the 48 hours of the two of you into the 24 hours of one?

    So yes, there is a lot of divorce. And there is a lot of data on the life cycles and patterns post divorce which is not realistically represented in welfare policy. What I think we need to see is a policy that more accurately reflects what is actually happening rather than trying to fit everyone into a nuclear family scenario with a tradition male bread winner and an unpaid carer of a wife who is completely financially dependent on her husband. If the government will not support a family law or child support system that gets both parents to continue raising the children they ‘chose’ to have together in the spirit in which they had them, then people should be able to ask for support to bridge the gap from a double parent household to getting back on your feet in a single parent household.

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