Art of Woman

International Women's Day

Today is a day for women around the world to take stock.

I am glad Australia has a new government that has abolished 'Work Choices'. This legislation was eroding conditions for many people. Because 'Work Choices' depended on negotiation, people who are in a weak position were at a disadvantage. Many women, especially those who have childcare or older person caring responsibilities, work in casual, part-time or informal jobs. These jobs tend to have no security, no leave entitlements, no sick provisions, no allowance for public holidays. They are jobs where people are hired and fired easily without any reason. They also have limited career options.

Many Australians believe we have equal pay for equal work. In fact, women earn 90% of their male equivalents (Advance Australia Where, Hugh Mackay P48). If you take into account the casualisation of female work and the restricted career path due to carer responsibilities, then women's real earnings are only 66% of men's earnings (The End of Equality, Anne Summers). Add this up over a lifetime and women have significantly reduced superannuation and subsequently significantly reduced financial security in their older years.
It is reasonable that superannuation is considered as part of a divorce or break-up settlement. Justice may not always be a 50/50% split because there are many factors to consider. Some women marry men older than themselves, so still have earning capacity after the man is drawing on his super. Differences in life expectancy may mean that men do not gain the same length of time benefit from their superannuation as their woman partner. Obviously a settlement means a division of assets and therefore a reduction in life style for both. These issues are complex.