Keeping the Roof Over Her Head: Precarious and Lost Homeownership Among Older, Single Women

Older woman’s home owing status in Australia has been inextricably linked to partnering with a male because historically, single women were denied home loans. A critical life event such as illness, unemployment or loss of partner can have enduring consequences for housing security. Women on average are paid 17 per cent less than men throughout their life course and have half the superannuation and savings on retirement, with 55 per cent of women 60 years and older having no superannuation at all. Casualisation, interrupted workforce participation and unpaid domestic and caring labour mean that women have less diverse assets and greater financial risk in later years.4 Family violence is the leading cause of homelessness in women of all ages. Associated financial abuse has multiple impacts including damaged credit ratings and loss of the family home. Older women also have greater barriers to sustaining employment due to age and sex discrimination, and greater pressure to financially support adult children.

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