As we work towards reducing the gender pay gap in Australia, we are far from creating equal opportunities for women, as we expand the gap through other means.
Celebrating Women – Another reason to talk about housing affordability! was an article we published last year for the International Women’s Day 2019. It presents some eye opening statistics about the realities of the ever increasing single parent families in Australia; The percentage of single mothers who are able to work full time, as opposed to fathers; And the alarmingly low chances of owning a home for a low income bracket population.
In the article we also talked about the Brisbane City Council’s plan to ban smaller and more affordable housing forms such as town houses. Warning that this move will mean not only “going backwards” but will continue to make housing the biggest contributor to inequality in Australia, as it has been for over the last 12 years.
12 months later, as we are celebrating the International Women’s Day 2020, the plan for the ban is now a sad reality.
YIMBY Qld did not give up campaigning against the ban. Our main concern was and still is: Will a blanket ban on townhouses, a legitimate housing choice, from around 70% of Brisbane’s residential areas solve (or achieve) anything?
If looking at the realities of situations for single mothers isn’t enough when trying to understand housing inequality and the growing homelessness among women in Australia, let’s talk about single women in general, whether single young professionals looking to buy their first home, or elderly women who want to move closer to their families.
“Women’s rights are human rights!” Housing is a human right! And if anyone is to ask ‘but what about single men?’ don’t forget that the pay gap in Australia is currently still at 14% meaning that, on average, men earn nearly $250 more per week. With $500 extra a fortnight, you are streets ahead when it comes to paying rent or a small mortgage.
Rising inequality in Australia isn’t about incomes: it’s almost all about housing by Brendan Coates and Carmela Shivers from Grattan Institute of Australia, published in The Conversation, September 19, 2019, notes that we are “leaving young and poor behind” and calls for a clearer policy agenda.
“Addressing inequality requires a clearer view on what to do about rising housing costs… Housing inequality will really only fall if housing costs fall. That requires building more houses.
We estimate building an extra 50,000 homes a year for the next decade would make house prices and rents 10% to 20% lower than they would be otherwise.
This is primarily a challenge for state governments. They govern the local councils that set most planning rules and assess most development applications. But the federal government can and should encourage the states to boost housing supply by reforming land-use planning and zoning laws.”
By cutting out housing choices we are making it even more difficult than ever to accommodate different lifestyles and life situations leaving the privilege of having a place you can call home a luxury only the ‘fortunate’ can afford; whether the fortune came from an inheritance, a ‘better’ start in life or a family situation where two incomes are possible.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that YIMBY groups around the world are pro-development groups. But YIMBY groups are human rights groups.
YIMBY groups are groups of citizens who are passionate about human rights and want decision makers to think about community as a whole, and the value of community dividend, when working on housing policies.
If you are not a single mother, a single young professional, an elderly woman looking to relocate or downsize, surely you know someone among you friends and family who are. Support these women. Take on the YIMBY mindset!
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