‘Single, female and over 60, I’m sick of being made to feel irrelevant’

Aug 15, 2019
This writer feels single women over 60 are often overlooked. (Stock photo used) Source: Getty Images

Single, female and over 60. That’s me and thousands like me in Australia. What’s sad is 34 per cent of single females over 60 years of age in this country live below the poverty line.

Most of these women are widowed or divorced. Mine is the latter. We are part of the so-called Baby Boomers, although personally I’m not fond of that phrase. If a woman is widowed and from this age group, chances are she didn’t work outside the home and had no way of earning and saving or accumulating superannuation. If a woman is divorced, she too more than likely was a homemaker and perhaps only worked full time once divorced.

Either way, statistics show the single woman over 60 is the most disadvantaged in this country. If you are put on a list for housing, you are quickly put down the list. Families first, and I agree. But for some reason an older couple are also placed ahead of you. Perhaps it’s because they can house two people in the same space as one.

Men still get some jobs over women. Even though the older single man is also somewhat disadvantaged, he is looked upon as having more work experience than a woman of the same age.

It has been my personal experience that women are talked down to, and in some cases ignored. It has been my experience that older women are looked upon as not quite as ‘smart’ as men.

A single over-60 female is also not looked upon as a good risk for private rental. I have personally experienced this. Recently, I was surprised to find that the over-60 single female is sometimes not only ‘dismissed’ by businesses, real estate agents and especially politicians, but female politicians too!

In a time when housing is short and governments are supposedly trying to rectify the situation, there was a problem with government wanting to develop land for affordable housing that nearby residents were not happy about. A particular female politician asked for opinions. I took the opportunity to express my opinion in an email to this member. She answered my email personally, but I found her response quite condescending. Instead of addressing my reasons for wanting the development to go ahead, the woman told me I should put my name down with various housing authorities and wished me luck.

I believe if I had been a 40-ish businessman, my theory and ideas would have at least been looked at and considered. Truth be told, I wasn’t actually asking for anything. Of course there are men over 60 years of age who are discriminated against too. Statistics show however, that women in this demographic who are doing it the toughest.

If we can’t get respect from other females, we have no show in a man’s world … and I believe it is still a man’s world. I’m sure there are plenty of good, decent, old and young men out there, but in this world of ‘throwaway’, I feel it has become the over-60, single female who seems to be the first casualty on the list.

Are you a single female over 60? How do you feel about the issues discussed by this writer?

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