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50+ Housewives: Consistently More Economically Vulnerable Than Men - What You Can Do About it?

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

Woman cleaning the sink
Woman cleaning the sink

Enough has been discussed about health related issues of the Menopause aged women.

What about money and the measure of a person's net worth?

In the realm of economic stability and security, disparities between genders continue to persist, particularly among individuals aged 50 and above. A substantial body of research shows that women in this age group often face higher levels of economic vulnerability compared to their male counterparts.

This article delves into three key points that shed light on this concerning issue and proposes actionable steps to address this gender-based economic disparity.

Drawing insights from both global and Singaporean contexts, we aim to empower women to take meaningful steps towards reducing economic vulnerability among older women aged 50 and above.

The Gender Pension Gap

Research consistently highlights the existence of a gender pension gap, which leaves women aged 50 and above at a higher risk of financial instability during their retirement years.

This gap is often attributed to factors such as interrupted career paths due to caregiving responsibilities, gender pay disparities, and a higher likelihood of part-time or informal employment.

Financially dependent Housewives

In Singapore, Woman from previous generations easily accepted strong gender-defined roles such as Housewife with a selfless view of putting “family first” . The woman invariably puts her own aspirations last and contributes to the prevailing gender inequality. These challenges are further compounded by the prevailing societal norms that places a heavier burden of caregiving on women. As a result, these women tend to be economically dependent. The part-timers accumulate smaller pension savings, making them more economically vulnerable during their retirement. [Reference: Singapore Ministry of Manpower, "Gender Wage Gap in Singapore"]

When marriage falls apart, the life changing effects of divorce includes upgrading skills and securing employment from where the woman left, before becoming a housewife. As not all companies have age-inclusive policies, re-entering workforce in the middle-ages without any skills and experience can be challenging .

Age Discrimination in the Workforce

Another significant factor contributing to the economic vulnerability of women aged 50 and above is age discrimination in the workforce. Research indicates that older women often face difficulties in securing and retaining employment due to biases related to age and gender.

This not only limits their earning potential but also erodes their financial stability. The situation is no different in Singapore, where older female employees may encounter challenges in accessing quality job opportunities and face stereotypes that perpetuate age-related biases. [Reference: Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, "Age Management"]

Lack of Financial Literacy and Support

A crucial aspect of addressing economic vulnerability is promoting financial literacy and providing adequate support. Research suggests that women, in general, tend to have lower levels of financial literacy, which can hinder their ability to make informed decisions about savings, investments, and retirement planning.

In Singapore, initiatives that focus on enhancing financial literacy among women aged 50 and above can play a pivotal role in empowering them to manage their finances effectively.

Furthermore, providing targeted support, such as workshops, mentorship programs, and accessible resources, can go a long way in improving the economic resilience of this demographic.

What You Can Do About It?

  1. Financial Independence: Workforce Singapore offers the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme, a full-time attachment programme for mature mid-career individuals aged 40+ who receive training allowance and industry-relevant experience. As the spaces are limited in these courses, the remaining hopefuls would be queueing-up behind scores of other unemployed individuals and register with career fair, career coach and career portals

  2. Advocate for Policy Changes: Engage with advocacy groups and policymakers to push for policies that address gender-based economic disparities, including measures to close the gender pension gap and combat age discrimination in the workforce.

  3. Promote Inclusive Work Environments: Encourage workplaces to adopt age-friendly and gender-inclusive policies that value the experience and contributions of older women. This can involve implementing flexible work arrangements, training programs, and mentorship opportunities.

  4. Invest in Financial Education: Support and participate in financial literacy initiatives aimed at women aged 50 and above. By equipping them with the knowledge and tools to make informed financial decisions, we can empower them to secure their economic future.

It is a huge task to overcome personal setbacks and adversaries for middle-aged housewives.. The economic vulnerability of women aged 50 and above is a multifaceted issue that requires collective effort to address. By understanding the factors contributing to this vulnerability and taking proactive steps at both the societal and individual levels, we can work towards a more equitable and financially secure future for all.

Through advocacy, policy changes, inclusive workplaces, and enhanced financial education, we can pave the way for a brighter economic outlook for older women, not only in Singapore but across the globe!


Important Notes:

This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as medical advice. Always consult a medical professional for specific advice on your health. This article has not been reviewed by any medical professionals or legal bodies.


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