Susan Feldman on ageing and gendered disadvantage

In a recent interview on 3CR’s Solidarity Breakfast, Susan Feldman discussed gendered disadvantage and the need to look at men’s and women’s different experiences of ageing.

Australia is a wealthy country, yet we lag behind most other developed countries when it comes to the economic and social well-being of people over 60. While aged care is high on policy agendas, the experience of ageing is often overlooked. Susan’s research has looked at the circumstances and experiences that we accumulate across a lifetime, and how these combine to impact our quality of life as we get older.

A range of complex factors contribute to the accumulation of gendered disadvantage later in life. Women’s work histories are likely to include part time work due to caring responsibilities, which continue to play a part in women’s capacity to work as they get older and are required to assist their own ageing parents or help care for grandchildren. This in turn impacts women’s access to affordable, appropriate housing, as they are likely to have less financial assets or capital, and are more likely to live alone as they get older.

Older women are keen to have opportunities to strengthen their economic security. However, their ongoing aspirations to be engaged in meaningful and financially rewarding careers or innovations are not yet a part of public discussion.

The research found that older women are particularly entrepreneurial and are interested in how new technologies can help them continue to participate in the workforce, as well as stay connected with friends and family. 

For more information, see Susan Feldman and Harriet Radermacher's blog, 'Why Australian women over 55 aren't exactly having the time of their lives' and their full report Time of our lives? Building opportunity and capacity for the economic and social participation of older Australian women.