Women want affordable housing while men are after accountability, My Big Idea campaign reveals

Article by Justin Lees /
NT News /
June 05, 2016 /
Click here to view original /

THE most important thing for women is affordable housing — while for men it is accountability, with property further down the scale.

The different stress on housing is largely down to one thing, according to gender studies experts — the pay gap between males and females.

“Women earn less than men,” said Dr Lauren Rosewarne, Senior Lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

“For all women, especially single ones, there is the fear that they are never going to get a foothold on the property ladder. Especially on their own.”

What about the idea that women want somewhere to bring up the family?

“There is this stereotype that women are nesters. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that if a woman wants children — and statistically most women will have children — she is going to want somewhere to bring them up.

“But I do think it is more about the earning difference.”

While there are many areas of similarity between the genders in the top ten desired cultural values explored by My Big Idea’s National Values Assessment, the order in which they come differs.

There is a greater degree of emphasis on care-oriented values in the women’s top ten: affordable housing, caring for the elderly, caring for the disadvantaged, employment opportunities, accountability, effective healthcare, concern for future generations, governmental effectiveness, financial stability, human rights and poverty reduction.

For men it is accountability, caring for the elderly, employment opportunities, caring for the disadvantaged, affordable housing, effective healthcare, governmental effectiveness, economic growth, honesty and quality of life.

When it comes to current cultural values they are much the same — both listing bureaucracy and wasted resources at the top — although women are slightly more positive; and their personal values are also similar, with heavy emphasis on plus points like family, caring and honesty.

Looking at the male stress on accountability as the number one desired cultural value, Dr Rosewarne believes it reflects a disappointment with current leadership.

“People are turning away from politicians, as shown by lots of research. They tend to believe what politicians say does not reflect what they care about.

“Accountability is one of those things people want more of. Even if they are not sure exactly how it is to be applied, it means a better society.

“It is something of a motherhood statement. There tends to be this feeling that the world is becoming a more disconnected, colder place and there is a desire for more accountability and honesty. It’s a reaction to a changing world which feels like it is changing too fast.

“In stereotypical terms — which I don’t think apply everywhere — men are more likely to pursue a legalistic term like accountability than a care-based value.”

The research was done as pat of the My Big Idea campaign, asking people to work together to solve challenges facing Australia — click here to get aboard.

NSW student Stephanie Jaja, 20, from Neutral Bay, said housing affordability is an important issue for many young people.

“It’s especially important for people who, for whatever reason, can’t live with their parents,” she said.

“If someone is moving from house to house then it puts pressure on other parts of their life, such as work, family and commuting.

“You don’t want people always saying ‘where am I going to live this year?’”

Damien Vickovich, from Haberfield, said while Australia has a relatively strong political system, more can be done.

“Transparency is important, especially for the legislative process and the judiciary,” the 19-year-old said.

“The tradition of corruption at a state level erodes the value of your political voice.

“It also diminishes the one-man-one-vote idea which is central to democracy.”