The Distinctive Features of Women in the Australian Bankruptcy System: An Empirical Study

Australian Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 173-190, 2019

U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 850

24 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2019 Last revised: 22 Oct 2019

See all articles by Lucinda O'Brien

Lucinda O'Brien

Melbourne Law School

Ian Ramsay

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne

Paul Ali

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: March 28, 2019

Abstract

According to data published by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), Australian women and men offer strikingly similar reasons for their entry into bankruptcy. Yet a more detailed analysis of AFSA’s data indicates that women and men often go bankrupt in very different social and economic circumstances. This empirical study draws upon a unique dataset, obtained from AFSA, containing the deidentified records of more than 28,000 individuals. It also draws upon a series of focus groups with the staff of three non-profit organisations, including financial counsellors and consumer solicitors. It finds that, in general, women in bankruptcy are likely to be economically disadvantaged, relative to men, as measured by income, access to wages, reliance on government benefits, real estate ownership and utilities debt. It also finds that women in bankruptcy are much more likely than men to be single with dependants, and that these women experience a greater degree of gendered disadvantage than other women in the bankruptcy system.

Keywords: bankruptcy, dependants, empirical, gender, women

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Lucinda and Ramsay, Ian and Ali, Paul, The Distinctive Features of Women in the Australian Bankruptcy System: An Empirical Study (March 28, 2019). Australian Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 173-190, 2019 ; U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 850. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3413553

Lucinda O'Brien

Melbourne Law School ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

Ian Ramsay (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 5332 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/ian-ramsay

Paul Ali

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 1088 (Phone)
+61 3 8344 5285 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au

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