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The housing market as a feminist issue

(71 Posts)
Bennifer Wed 31-Aug-11 17:06:34

This is a conflation of two thoughts. Firstly, the idea that it's ok to be single, and secondly, the rise of cost in housing so that people are priced out.

In my circle of friends I know single women, who, because they're single are in poor housing. One of my friends even stays with a partner because otherwise she'd be in a grotty houseshare or bedsit.

One of knock-on effects of high housing costs is the effect it has on women, and the difficulty of being independent single women.

LeninGrad Wed 31-Aug-11 17:07:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Wed 31-Aug-11 17:09:31

Why does it specifically effect single women though? I imagine it's quite hard for anyone to get on the housing ladder at the moment. Or do you mean because of the pay gap etc?

Justfeckinggoogleit Wed 31-Aug-11 17:09:35

Why is a single woman who cannot afford to buy in a different situation from a single man who can't afford to buy? hmm

It's extremely patronising to suggest women haven't the earning power to buy property.
My salary alone bought our first house.

Bennifer Wed 31-Aug-11 17:11:25

I agree, it doesn't specifically affect women more than men, I'm just raising it as an issue in how it affects women. On average women do earn less than men, so I would suspect it does affect women more than men. I just wanted to raise it as a possible issue

Justfeckinggoogleit Wed 31-Aug-11 17:14:39

I think by trying to see every political issue as a feminist one, you actually devalue the real issues that affect women.

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Wed 31-Aug-11 17:19:23

I can see how this is more of an issue in certain economies/cultures, where women really are possessionless so are possessions. I do think it's less of an issue here, today, in the UK. The pay gap definitely exists, but at what stage it kicks in in earnest is debatable. I'd argue that the majority of people look to get on the housing ladder before they are married or have children, and that's when you realise that the average salary just won't get you a mortgage. My younger friends and cousins have all had to buy with friends.

HandDivedScallopsrgreat Wed 31-Aug-11 17:21:11

"I think by trying to see every political issue as a feminist one, you actually devalue the real issues that affect women." confused No you don't. We are capable of thinking about more than one issue at a time and prioritising.

I think it can be viewed from a feminist perspective (as most things can) because of the gender pay gap and the fact that the majority of single parents are mothers so have greater outgoings because of that before you even look at mortgages. So it does affect women more than men.

Bennifer Wed 31-Aug-11 17:24:10

Perhaps, I've gone on here and stated before that I think housing is much more an intergenerational problem dissected by class.

I was merely thinking aloud. The current housing market makes it difficult for young women to be single and independent. If you want secure accommodation, you almost certainly need to be in a couple

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Wed 31-Aug-11 17:27:21

I suppose that if you want long term security most people would rather buy with a partner <mulls> I know that my cousin who bought with her friend 6 years ago is now desperate to get out of the arrangement, but can't afford to.

PeanutGallery Wed 31-Aug-11 17:27:36

I tell you what is a feminist issue.

Apparently some mortgage companies will disregard the woman's salary when calculating amounts to lend if she is pregnant. Even if she will get enhanced maternity pay and intends to go back to work when that runs out, so there is actually not going to be much if any drop in earnings. This is, I gather, because it is seen as more likely that she will leave her job.

I find this shock. Granted, there is a chance that she may not go back to work. But there is always a chance that anyone may leave their job - voluntarily or not - so why do mortgage lenders single out pregnant women?

Sorry, bit of a tangent as this is a rather more specific point than the OP, but it really shocked me.

Alibabaandthe80nappies Wed 31-Aug-11 17:31:34

I think it is not so much an issue for women in general, but an issue for women who have children - which I think we all accept has an impact on a woman's career, whether she becomes a SAHM, or is back at work a month after giving birth.

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Wed 31-Aug-11 17:33:35

Really Peanut?! That's legal?! shock

PeanutGallery Wed 31-Aug-11 17:39:14

I don't know whether it's legal Chickens, but it happened to my friend who was applying to a well known bank and mortgage lender with a supposedly excellent reputation for customer service. She was the main earner and it really stumped them. I am not sure what happened in the end, whether she managed to find a way around it.

PeanutGallery Wed 31-Aug-11 18:06:49

Chickens, I just found this thread. Seems it happens a fair bit. Ombudsman has said it's unlawful, but it still happens.

dittany Wed 31-Aug-11 18:53:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Wed 31-Aug-11 18:58:32

Wait, I was about to change back to DCMP hmm

Of course it's a feminist issue. We still have women in lower paid jobs (in general) we still have a pay divide, and women are still, in some circles expected to stay home and look after the kids.

Lower earning potential = lower mortgage, if any.

Birdsgottafly Wed 31-Aug-11 18:59:23

There has been lots of articles and research which have found that women are the most affected, in this recession. I am only linking two simple accounts, but it has been a topic of the TUC, since last year.

Justfeckinggoogleit Wed 31-Aug-11 20:37:22

Sometimes it's as if women are completely powerless victims on these threads.
If a woman is in a low paid job, she is in the same position as a man in a low paid job.
As women we have choices all through our adult lives, as do men. We can get qualified and get a well paid career or we can not do that and get pregnant. Or we can do both.
It's no one else's fault if a woman chooses not to equip herself with the skills to earn a wage that is self supporting, as much as she can.

margerykemp Wed 31-Aug-11 22:16:16

God, you're naive, justfeckinggoogleit. I think you need to sign up for feminism 101.

Justfeckinggoogleit Wed 31-Aug-11 22:19:55

And you are rude, margerykemp.

Go on, tell me how I'm naive. I'm all ears.

LRDTheFeministDragon Wed 31-Aug-11 22:25:58

I don't think women are powerless. But we do know that a disproportionate number of poor people are women. We need to think how that affects housing. It's all very well to say to a woman who's 25, or 35, or 65, 'well, if you'd made better choices you'd be richer', but it doesn't solve the immediate housing issue. Nor is it fair to blame that women exclusively, when society had played a big role in telling her to become poor by making conventionally 'feminine' choices. A man is encouraged to earn money, and rewarded for it - the whole of eduction and society tells him this. For women, it is not so.

TheRealMBJ Wed 31-Aug-11 22:26:56

Just butting in here. Yes, our mortgage company would not include my salary in calculations because I was pregnant at the time (as it turns out, it has worked well for us because we can afford our repayments on DH's salary alone, thereby not forcing e back into work, but it did mean some technically complicated stuff to get my name on the deeds)

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Wed 31-Aug-11 22:28:53

Heres a few recent articles for you, justfeckinggoogleit. I did just as your username suggested. grin

One from the Guardian "Women are not taking up management roles at the same rate as their male counterparts"

One from the BBC "Male executives are paid, on average, £10,000 more than their female counterparts"

Another one from the Beeb "Although women are earning more than men at a junior management level, experts believe it will be another 98 years to close the gender pay gap" (This one is complete with a graph to really illustrate the point)

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Wed 31-Aug-11 22:31:08

Will also have a quick gander to see if I can find my old sociology notes, which outlined how much more likely a woman is to live in poverty at some point... I think it may be 50% more likely, but may be wrong, so don't take that as set in stone...

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