Understanding single older women's invisibility in housing issues in Australia

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Publication details

Darab, S & Harmann, Y 2013, 'Understanding single older women's invisibility in housing issues in Australia', Housing, Theory and Society, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 348-367.

Published version available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14036096.2012.746944

Peer Reviewed



This paper examines the available literature on single older non-home owning women in Australia and their housing issues. Preliminary information suggests that this subset of the population is increasingly at risk of becoming homeless or inadequately housed in later life. In fact, there is a historical dearth of research on women’s housing in general. This invisibility and vulnerability is interrogated within this paper through a feminist standpoint lens. We argue that in order to better understand the situation for single older women who do not own their own homes, it is necessary to revisit the social landscape inhabited by these women in their early years. Firstly, however, the current landscape is explored. It appears that ageing and single status are compounding factors which place non-home owning women at higher risk of homelessness or inappropriate housing. The paper then attempts to assess how the social and economic conditions that were extant in the mid-twentieth century led to the present situation. Our analysis leads us to suggest that women’s traditional roles in society are largely responsible for housing insecurity in their later years.

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