Holdsworth, L 2008, 'Women and housing: making women’s experience visible', in T Majoribanks, J Barraket, J-S Chang, A Dawson, M Guillemin, M Henry-Waring, A Kenyon, R Kokanovic, J Lewis, D Lusher, D Nolan, P Pyett, R Robins, D Warr, J Wyn (eds), Reimagining sociology: proceedings of the annual conference of the Australian Sociological Association (TASA), Melbourne, Vic., 2-5 December, The Australian Sociological Association (TASA), Hawthorn, Vic.
Opportunities for wealth creation, access to affordable housing, sense of security andbelonging, level of choice, self-esteem and self-determination are all linked to housing,and more specifically to tenure type with its resulting (often hidden) inequity. In thispaper I explore the impact of non-homeownership on a particularly significant anddisadvantaged social group, sole mother families who do not own their homes and whosubsequently privately rent their housing. I draw on some findings of a qualitative studywhich I undertook as part of my PhD research which adopted a critical feminist approachand utilised in-depth interviews to ascertain and make visible the experiences andconcerns of 32 non-home-owning sole mothers living in Northern NSW. This approach ismarkedly different to many used in housing related research which often results in theparticular concerns of vulnerable social groups being indistinguishable from others thatare faring well within the ‘free market’ approach to housing. These women’s concernsare discussed against the backdrop of a decline in housing affordability, availability,choice and security of tenure. In addition, I reflexively draw on personal experience thatexplicitly positions myself in this paper to further highlight and make visible housingconcerns impacting on women.