New Homeless are Older, Single Women - Report
5 March 2012 at 2:38 pm
Within a generation, the majority of Sydney’s homeless will consist of mainly older, single women, a new report has revealed.
An initiative of the Sydney Women’s Fund, the report called A Portrait of Women and Girls in Greater Sydney, also found that the majority of female single parent households earn less than half that of male single parent households.
The report will be discussed in detail at the Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus forum in Sydney on Friday to coincide with International Women’s Day.
Sydney Women’s Fund Director Kristi Mansfield said that the report showed a powerful tale of two Sydneys.
“In Greater Sydney we have some of the most highly influential, educated and wealthiest women. We should be proud of that, but it’s only part of our story. We also have some of the least powerful, most disadvantaged and poorest women in Australia,” Mansfield said.
“This report acknowledges that while some things are improving, for many women vitally important issues such as their work, housing, health and education remain a very real problem.”
According to the report, 46 per cent of female single parents earn less than $25,999 whereas 41 per cent of male single parent households report an income of more than $62,400.
The report also claims that infant mortality rates are 44 per cent higher in the western and south-western suburbs and in Wyong, compared the city’s more affluent suburbs, while women living in the same areas are 46 per cent more likely to die prematurely, compared to those living in wealthier areas.
The report states: “Over and over again, the lives of women and girls can be shown to be profoundly affected by relative inequality, affecting their life chances, their opportunities, their access to resources, their opportunity to feel valued and respected”.
The Sydney Women’s Fund says it will use the report to direct more than $3 million in funding to projects benefiting the most vulnerable women in Greater Sydney.
The chair of Sydney Women’s Fund Rosalind Strong said that the report brought together the evidence and gave Sydney’s disadvantaged women a voice.
“The report paints a reality of constraint, insecurity and challenge for many women in our city,” Strong said.
“Government intervention alone cannot break the cycle. We need to use the assets and goodwill of the public and private sector to help close the gaps that weaken our community.
“Unless women and girls gain in economic security, education, health, safety and leadership, the potential of the entire community will remain unfulfilled. When women and girls thrive, whole communities and cities thrive.”
The report and its five background papers were prepared for the Sydney Women’s Fund by social researchers Australia Street Company, and funded by a grant from Barclays Capital.
Kirsti Mansfield said: “Barclays Capital has taken the first vital step in funding the Portrait Project, we’re now urging decision makers in the public and private sector to follow our lead and use the evidence to guide their philanthropic agendas.”