A study from UK based job site Rest Less has found a staggering 88% increase in insolvencies amongst women aged 65 and over from 2008 to 2018.
The research, which comes from the jobs, volunteering and advice site for the over 50s, found that in the ten years between 2008 – 2018, women who declared insolvency increased from 1,109 to 2,082 cases.
Insolvencies amongst men aged 65 and above also increased, though only by 29%. Rest Less’ analysis tallied the insolvency figures by age group and found the most significant leap in figures was the over 65s women group.
What could be the cause of these concerning figures?
Founder of Rest Less, Stuart Lewis believes the problem is multi-faceted, though obvious contributing factors can be pinpointed. These include unequal distribution of family care, ageism and superannuation balances.
“Women over 65 are already at higher risk of finding themselves in a financially precarious position,” Lewis said. “Women in their 50s and 60s are also more likely to have taken time out of the workplace and to have caring responsibilities, whether for elderly relatives, partners or grandchildren.”
Lewis added that women in the over 65 age group are also “more likely to be made redundant, to be in long term unemployment and to face age discrimination in the recruitment process when applying for jobs”.
Last October, his organisation, which was founded in 2018, reported that the gender pay gap is at its widest for women in their 50s. Given people now work longer than ever before retirement, these statistics demand stronger response from government.
Lewis believes the financial hardships faced by women over 65 will no doubt affect the rest of society and ought to be addressed in a more ‘holistic’ way.
Our founder Stuart Lewis is interviewed by @justinkingCFP for The Retirement Café #podcast on helping the over 50s find age-friendly employers. Listen here – https://t.co/XzDTlJTHa3#ageism #work #ageingbetter
— Rest Less (@rest_less_uk) January 21, 2020
He says he’d like to see support being “provided and focussed around later life re-training, encouraging all-age apprenticeships and common place age diversity policies aimed at supporting this often overlooked, but talented and hardworking group of individuals.”
Given the predicted ‘tsunami’ of homelessness among Australian women aged over 50 the picture here is likely to be similarly alarming.