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The Forum > Article Comments > Women and hidden unemployment > Comments

Women and hidden unemployment : Comments

By Marie Coleman, published 31/8/2009

The present state of public policy has disturbing implications for women and their life-long economic security.

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Your article depends on the concept 'hidden' unemployment, but you don't say what you mean by it.

When a woman works at home looking after her children she is not 'out of work'. She is working. Not only that, assuming she is not on the pension, she is getting the market rate for it, in the sense that she is getting the material consideration that she agrees to for her actions. It is that, not policy, that defines the existence of the market.

"When will the policy makers realise that children grow up, year on year?"

When will people realise that their children are their responsibility?

"There are far more un-supervised young school age children floating around the streets of our towns and cities than we can find places in formal child care. There are women choosing to work, part time, at lesser paid jobs; there are women, often sole parents, desperate to work longer hours; there are women who want to get into the work-place..."

These things are purely private and have nothing to do with policy; unless the children are neglected, in which case the ordinary law of child protection applies. I want lots of people to pay my way in life too: does that make my material aspirations a matter of public policy for others to be forced to pay for?

The article is simply a cry for handouts. Actions have consequences. If you choose to have a child, you need to understand that other people don't value it the same as you do. That is their right. There is no reason why someone else should be forced to work without receiving, so you can receive without working.
Posted by Peter Hume, Monday, 31 August 2009 9:48:32 AM
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I must agree with Peter Hume, that while undoubtedly there are people that are under employed, most of the people working part time do so because it suits their life style.

My wife and other qualified mothers work 2-3 days a week or 1/2 days in spite of their employers wanting them to work longer, because they want to spend time with their children, but also keep their minds active.

Anyone to claim that the existing statistics wildly underestimate the unemployment, they need to show how many underemployed wish to work more, and by how much. As of yet I have seen nothing other than political rhetoric.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Monday, 31 August 2009 10:56:21 AM
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It appears that the 2 persons who have replied to this article so far are male. I had 5 children and I felt responsible for their care before and after school, that meant I was an undervalued stay at home Mum, while my husband worked to bring in the wages to support our family.
Forget it! Australia needs children to be the youth of the future.
Meanwhile it needs women to fulfill many of the work roles and women deserve the right to financial independence.
Unlike other countries Australia is not overpopulated. It is youth that will be the new thinkers and inventors of the future. Most innovation comes via youth. Thus we women should continue to be bear babies for the future wealth of our nation.
Our natural motherly instincts oblige us to then be full time care givers to our children or work part time. The male members of the Australian society did not recognize this contribution when I was a stay at home mother. I can not see any evidence that the situation has changed.
Fathers are needed for procreation, but how many Dads do you see behind the check out counters at Woolworths?
Only when that change occurs will women have equality in the Australian job market and family child care.
Posted by Country girl, Monday, 31 August 2009 12:39:53 PM
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Country girl,

'It appears that the 2 persons who have replied to this article so far are male.'

Oh, I see, because they are male they have no right to comment on something concerning women and men. Just shut up and keep paying the bills.

'I had 5 children and I felt responsible for their care before and after school, that meant I was an undervalued stay at home Mum'

Well, this is logical. You felt undervalued so you went and had another four children. Why didn't you just get a career like lots of women?

I suspect the reason is you loved your children and ejoyed spending time with them. But how could this happen?

'while my husband worked to bring in the wages to support our family.'

Oh. So your husband went out every day to provide for you and the family did he? Poor you. Does he begrude you all those experiences you had with the kids? Or is he happy that even though he missed out he was able to provide for his wife and kids?

On a related issue: I was watching the last budget on ABC with a female friend in her 50s. She returned to the room and I told her the retirement age had gone up to 67. Her response was 'for women too?'. In the same week I had to explain to another women that she would have to work to 67 too. Like the first women she seemd a bit put out. Women think it's good and fine to have the same (read: more) rights as men but don't like it all when when they have the same reponsibility.

Women live longer and healthier lives than men - 6 years longer on average. How about we split the difference? Women can retire at 70 and men at 67. Men worked longer than women for all those years and as women spend longer out of the workforce, this would provide an opportunity for true equality. Surely, as we continue to live longer this will have to happen at some stage.
Posted by dane, Monday, 31 August 2009 1:18:49 PM
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All women are disadvantaged by the societal expectation that women will leave the workforce to have children or leave the workforce to care for sick or frail family members. Unmarried women without children find their careers stymied by bosses who expect them to leave, bosses who retrench women before men because a man has a family to support, ignoring the fact that single women often have children to rear without the support of the children's fathers.

Statistically women with equal education to men earn 82% of a male salary, as time goes on men are offered the higher paid work.

When comparing male and female applicants for the same position the women are invariably better educated, more qualified with lower status positions than their male counterparts. Why is possession of a penis a prerequisite for higher pay, more secure employment?

Many firms encourage male staff to set up their own self funded superannuation funds while explicitly insisting females contribute to the employer super fund.

I agree with Marie that policy is built on statistics that hides the real nature of unemployment. Its all very well to raise the aged pension age but without a reduction in the rampant ageism in our workplaces all this means is that unemployed live on $226 per week for an additional 2 years before accessing $284 per week aged pension.
Posted by billie, Monday, 31 August 2009 1:37:45 PM
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dane

Considering all the gender-specific changes that have occurred in the male and female pension ages since 1995, it's only understandable that a woman would ask if the raising of the retirement age to 67 would apply to women as well.

And you see, poor diddums, women actually have a vastly different work experience over the course of their working lives to that of men. Unlike men, they experience all kinds of interrupted career paths and all kinds of compromises to their employability once the kids come. And, once they hit their late forties, the chances of resuming a career after raising children diminishes greatly.

Although you are too spiteful and too misogynist to see this, at least policymakers are trying to bear this in mind. Today's generation approaching retirement is expected to be self-funded and to have ample superannuation, but the average woman approaching retirement age is not as able to accumulate the same superannuation as men in the same age group.

And women who are working up to 70-hour weeks as stay-at-home parents are not being paid AT ALL. By most definitions, that constitutes slave labour - but in the case of women, that's simply fulfilling what their society expects of them.

Consider these statistics from HREOC:

"Women have significantly less money saved for their retirement half of all women aged 45 to 59 have $8,000 or less in their superannuation funds, compared to $31,000 for men.

Currently, the average superannuation payout for women is a third of the payout for men - $37,000 compared with $110, 000.

In Australia, women working full-time today earn 16 per cent less than men."

Oh ... but, of course. According to Slam-the-Bitch Misogyny 101, this is all because of women's CHOICES, and nothing to do with a society that treats women like lepers if they don't take primary responsibility for raising the kids. And according to the same misogyny-for-dummies criteria, men don't have to bloody well pick up the tab for these female freeloaders who don't want to take responsibility for themselves, do they?

Grow up, you sad little man!
Posted by SJF, Monday, 31 August 2009 2:54:14 PM
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