March 8 is International Women’s Day which aligns well with COTA’s current submission to the Victorian Government’s consultation on a Gender Equality Strategy for Victoria. COTA’s submission will focus on the multitude of issues facing many older women, whom we feel have been given insufficient recognition in government’s discussion paper: (http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/images/documents/Gender_Equality_Consultation_Paper2_updated_date.pdf.pdf ).
COTA is running a focus group for women over 55 to here your ideas. For more information click here.
COTA argues that older women are often ignored in the broader gender equality debate, despite comprising the cohort which has chiefly been impacted as the result of a life course of gender inequality and discrimination in the past.
As important as the future for younger women in Australia is, there is a clear and pressing need to address the now for older women, many of whom find themselves living in poverty, in insecure housing and being disproportionally vulnerable to elder abuse. Older women retire with an average of 50 percent of the superannuation men accumulate. They are the largest growing cohort at risk of homelessness. A lifetime’s experience of barriers to wealth accumulation, have had an enormous impact.
While much has improved for women, some changes have been too slow to render equality for older women, many of whom will continue to live with the impacts of inequality for the remainder of their lives – commonly 20-30 years post-retirement. Older women may experience the dual disadvantages of sexism and ageism, remaining disadvantaged within the community and largely ‘invisible’ in public policy.
With submissions to the Gender Equality Strategy due by 18 March, COTA urges you to make your views and opinions heard; to support calls for a Strategy which brings real and measureable change for women both young and older. You can make an individual submission by email to email@example.com or by mail, to the Women and Royal Commission Branch, Department of Premier and Cabinet, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne 3002.
COTA wants to hear your opinions and experiences around gender equality: How have gender stereotypes and expectations around being a woman shaped your life? Do your feel your current housing situation or your income has been shaped by a lifetime of experiences of disadvantage and gender inequality? We think older women are a vital component in the development of any Gender Equality Strategy for Victoria – do you? We are keen to hear your views and your life stories both to inform our submission and beyond the March deadline. Contact Myfan Jordan firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Click here for the focus group flyer Gender Focus Group – Women Over 55