A toolkit to fight economic barriers for older women launches
28 August 2019 at 5:31 pm
For women over the age of 50, the gender pay gap, a lack of superannuation and unpaid work present economic barriers to retirement. But the launch of a financial toolkit for the demographic could be the answer to financial security and freedom.
Created by the Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE), the free toolkit includes tips on how to have difficult conversations around money, advice on financial abuse and a checklist to get finances in order.
Lou Franklin, WIRE senior project coordinator, told Pro Bono News that before the toolkit, there wasn’t any way for older women to approach or deal with their finances.
“Having all that stuff in one place was a really handy way to do that,” Franklin said.
Older women are a particularly financially vulnerable demographic.
Despite increasing workforce participation, they are paid less due to the gender pay gap – which sits at 9.3 per cent in Victoria where WIRE is based – and are more likely to be in casual or insecure work, increasing their risk of homelessness.
Women also spend nearly twice as much time as men in caring roles, reducing their workforce participation in Victoria to 12.5 per cent less than men. Upon retirement, the superannuation gender gap in Victoria is 44 per cent.
Franklin said by giving women access to all the information they need in one booklet, it will give them the confidence to take control of their finances.
“It makes it a lot easier when you’re thinking about talking to the bank or talking to your partner because it’s right there in front of you,” they said.
“Between having the information at your fingertips and having some support around navigating those conversations, it takes away quite a few barriers that are really impactful on women’s financial freedom.”
WIRE received $200,000 from the Victorian state government to develop and pilot workshops around the state to better understand the financial needs of older women. The toolkit was born from this.
Victorian Minister for women, Gabrielle Williams, said helping older women understand their finances had long reaching impacts.
“Empowering women to create a more positive and informed attitude to money can have significant outcomes – such as creating the economic safety to leave financially abusive relationships,” Williams said.
She said the toolkit was an important part of empowering women to understand their finances so they had the confidence and knowledge to change them if they ran into trouble.
Find out more about the toolkit here.