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
24 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2019 Last revised: 22 Oct 2019
Date Written: March 28, 2019
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
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