Time and date
Wednesday 6 March 2024 - 12 pm to 1 pm
Online webinar

Watch our special International Women's Day edition of BSL Talks - Counting women in: breaking poverty cycles through economic security.

“Our ultimate aim for this group, Women in Poverty, is not to exist”, said Aradia Sayner, co-founder of the group, in our latest BSL Talks. Discussing the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, Counting Women In, the webinar focused on breaking poverty cycles by improving women’s economic security.

Our esteemed panellists - Dr Anne Summers AO, Aradia Sayner, Terese Edwards from Single Mother Families Australia and BSL’s Dr Margaret Kabare – were joined by nearly 200 online guests. Hosted by our Social Policy and Research Director, Dr Nicole Bieske, the webinar was a moving discussion that canvassed a wide range of reasons as to why women find themselves trapped in poverty and how we could change this with both short and long-term solutions. Housing affordability, low participation of women in employment, high rates of part-time roles for women, high costs of further education, unpaid caring responsibilities, and woefully inadequate rates of government payments were just many of the barriers mentioned.

Panellists acknowledged that while there have been some recent positive steps towards improving systems – like the abolition of the punitive Parents Next program – much more needs to be done.

As Anne Summers noted,

“We've had some great progress from the Albanese Government in helping single parents out of poverty - but we need them to finish the job at this year's Budget and make sure that they don't lose the Single Parents Payment when kids turn 14, we need it raised to 16 years."

Terese Edwards spoke about the additional pressures that single mothers face due to the overwhelming burden of raising children while living well below the poverty line, and how some simple and low-cost systems reform could change this overnight. Margaret Kabare talked about findings from BSL’s recent ‘ Making ends meet ’ report which showed the stark choices women living in poverty in Victoria are forced to make, including cutting back on food or heating, rationing medication or taking on debt.

In closing Aradia Sayner, a single parent who has been on a social housing waiting list for over a decade and currently homeless, reflected that no woman would wish or imagine that they would be in this situation in their mid-fifties. “Living in poverty is extremely dehumanising and isolating. Let’s start by investing in affordable housing which should be a basic fundamental right.”

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