Posts in Women's Scorecard
Indigenous women: Rethinking economic security

The Women’s Policy Action Tank recently published a special issue of the Good Policy newsletter, exploring three areas of policy with a gender lens: women and the criminal justice system, Indigenous women, and women’s experience of employment. Each topic is explored using a dialectical approach, in which two authors approach a topic from a different angles. We will be publishing the paired articles on our blog over the coming three weeks. This week: read about the impacts of the welfare system on Indigenous women. This article is a companion piece to Income Management and Indigenous women, by Shelley Bielefeld.

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Income management and Indigenous women

The Women’s Policy Action Tank recently published a special issue of the Good Policy newsletter, exploring three areas of policy with a gender lens: women and the criminal justice system, Indigenous women, and women’s experience of employment. Each topic is explored using a dialectical approach, in which two authors approach a topic from a different angles. We will be publishing the paired articles on our blog over the coming three weeks. This week: read about the impacts of the welfare system on Indigenous women.

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Making the Most of Diversity Lessons from March for Science Australia

Over the weekend, thousands participated in the March for Science, both in Australia and globally. Influenced by the Women’s March, the March for Science has struggled with reflecting the highly diverse scientific community. In today’s post, sociologist Zuleyka Zevallos provides a brief history of the controversies, explains why diversity in science is important, and provides practical suggestions for moving forward on stronger footing.

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Always on edge: The dangers to female couch surfers and their children

Tuesday April 5th is Youth Homelessness Matters Day. As detailed in an accompanying blog, youth homelessness is on the rise due to a range of policy changes. Couch surfing is the predominant manifestation of youth homelessness, although largely hidden. Shorna Moore from WEstJustice has written before about young people’s experiences of couch surfing; today she provides a look into how couch surfing specifically places young women and their children in precarious situations.

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Higher child support doesn’t lead to welfare dependency for single mums

Over the past months we have run several blogs on single mothers and how welfare policies manage to both keep them on the brink of poverty and also create convoluted bureaucratic processes in their quest to move from welfare to work. It was heartening, therefore, to come across the research findings shared here by Haley Fisher, which reports that more generous child support both reduces poverty and increases rates of return to work for single mothers. It may seem contrary, but keeping families on the brink of poverty does not provide the right incentives for re-entering employment. This article originally appeared in The Conversation, and can be viewed in its original format here

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When volunteering isn’t valued: Welfare to Work and mutual obligation requirements

Previously we have published 2 blogs (here and here) written by Juanita McLaren, a student intern with the Women’s Research, Advocacy and Policy (WRAP) Centre at Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand.  As a part of her research, Juanita is interviewing single mothers who are registered with the JobActive (Welfare to Work) scheme.  Here Juanita relates “Gloria’s” (not her real name) story, who simultaneously won a community award for her volunteerism while also failing to adhere to Centrelink’s requirements for volunteer service. 

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New Zealand’s Child Support reforms - an opportunity lost

While there are many similarities in child support policies between Australia and New Zealand, there are also some critical differences – differences which put low-income single mothers at greater disadvantage, while making it harder for them to re-enter the workforce.  Today’s policy analysis Identifies critical areas that need review in order tobetter support single mothers and their children.  Michael Fletcher will be speaking on this topic at the upcoming Good Conversations event: Child Support Policy and Its Impacts on Women’s Economic Security.

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Cuts to Australia’s aid budget impacts women

Under the Coalition Government, Australia’s International Aid budget has suffered unprecedented cuts, and is on target to soon fall to its lowest level on record – a fact few people are aware of. Additionally, since AusAID was merged with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in 2013, aid is now directly and intentionally tied to Australia’s economic partnerships abroad. The gendered nature of poverty means the budget cuts and shift in focus are likely to unequally disadvantage women and their children.  Today’s Scorecard analyses the gendered benefits and risks reflected in Australia’s aid budget.

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Supporting carers: political discourse limits women's options at every turn

Australia’s approach to supporting carers reflects a judgment on parenting vs other kinds of caring, which has led to a punitive approach to supporting single parents, usually mothers. In no way does caring support provide the flexibility most carers – primarily women –  would like for active participation in formal employment. Today’s policy analysis examines how caring policies could be reconfigured to provide more support for the lived realities of all carers while also interrogating the negative discourse around parenting roles. 

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Weighing the cost of Welfare to Work implementation

Yesterday the news was alight with stories from the Department of Human Services that 35,000 people refused to take jobs and remain instead on welfare; this despite Australia’s expenditures on welfare plummeting well below the OECD averageAn insider’s view of how the welfare-to-work system works is therefore very timely. In today’s blog, Juanita McLaren details the sheer volume of interactions she has via the private sub-contractor who provides her with job-seeking support – despite being offered only one position in the past year.  She asks a more pertinent question: how much of the welfare budget is allocated to monitoring compliance? Juanita is on student placement with Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand and has written previously about the time requirements in the welfare to work scheme.

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Women's Policy Action Tank: Women and prison

The number of women incarcerated in Australia is on the rise, yet there are stark differences in the nature of women’s offending which raise the question: is the criminal justice system poised to respond to gendered differences in the prison population? The Women’s Policy Action Tank has previously examined whether the prison system is an appropriate response to women’s offending. Today’s policy analysis provides the data to understand these gendered differences and proposes changes that will better respond to women in the criminal justice system. 

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Women, Ageism and Elder Abuse

Ageism, or the devaluing of older people, differently impacts on women due to the overlay of sexist attitudes on women’s worth. Additionally, lower-status employment and financial insecurity can create an environment whereby older women are particularly vulnerable to instances of elder abuse. Today’s Scorecard identifies key areas for an improved policy response. 

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Women at risk during disasters due to poor understanding of gendered differences

Today’s policy analysis examines how the government response to disasters puts women at greater risk due to a lack of gender analysis.  Stereotyped role assumptions underpin women’s increased vulnerability; they are more likely to experience violence and financial hardship immediately following a disaster, and are are less likely to have received disaster preparedness training. What is known about gendered differences to disasters needs to be incorporated into an effective strategy to keep women and children safer.

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Women’s Policy Action Tank: Bold Leadership Needed for Transformational Change

Neither party provides, nor even alludes to any transformational change capable of achieving gender equality. This analysis of recent women’s policy statements by Yvonne Lay reveals a failure by both parties to address the deep-rooted social structures that reinforce our male-defined society.

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Women’s Policy Action Tank: Why the Women’s Budget Statement needs to be reintroduced

Gender-Responsive Budgeting improves targeted and effective social change.  Despite being an early leader in this area, Australia abruptly ceased issuing a Women’s Budget Statement (WBS) in 2013.  Today’s post argues that the WBS ought to be resurrected as an integrated analysis of the budget process itself.

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Women’s Policy Action Tank: An “incident” approach to family violence fails both victims and perpetrators

When violence against women is considered an “incident” and handled through the criminal justice system, there is a failure to effectively address the reason why men use violence.  Today’s Scorecard provides a much-needed framework for considering effective policy responses to men who perpetrate violence against women.  

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Women’s Policy Action Tank: Promoting girls’ and women’s participation in STEM education and careers

Despite girls’ higher academic performance compared to boys – including science and math subjects – there is a “leaky pipeline” when it comes to keeping women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers. Today’s policy analysis provides a comprehensive break-down of the policy statements from the Coalition, Labor, and the Greens parties regarding keeping girls and women in STEM. 

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