Project aims to turn hobbies into cash businesses

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A public policy expert has called for more direct action to stop growing ageism and intergenerational wars.

Myfan Jordan, the Social Innovation Projects Manager at think tank Per Capita, told YourLifeChoices “fear-mongering being caused by those who are pitting the generations against each other” has to end.

She has helped design Money for Jam, a recently launched business training project for older women at risk of poverty. Ms Jordan hopes the training will help to turn their hobbies into micro-enterprises and boost womens’ self-esteem in the face of growing discrimination.

“Few people want to be a burden when they are older. So it is really important for s to get behind a full range of opportunities to ease them into self-sufficiency,” Ms Jordan told YourLifeChoices.

Per Capita has recruited 15 Melbourne women for the pilot project.

Ms Jordan hopes that it will eventually be rolled out across Australia, but admits that funding will be a challenge.

Per Capita Executive Director Emma Dawson told ABC News on Friday that women aged 50 and over were the fastest-growing group of homeless people in Australia.

She said “many older women have specific skillsets that can generate income, but they often need assistance to create an effective business model”.

If the 18-month pilot succeeds, the organisation would like to make Money for Jam available to welfare groups around the nation.

Ms Jordan said the program is more than just about teaching business skills.

“We need to build emotional well-being, too,” she said. “This is especially vital for women who are put off from going into business because they perceive it as too competitive and hyper masculine.

“Following the building up of self-esteem, they are taught about identifying a market, selling online and micro-business management tools.”

Per Capita is also working on developing a free, smartphone app to make the Money for Jam program more widely available. Ms Jordan hopes to recruit 40 older women to trial the app early next year. Readers interested in the program can email her here.

Opinion: Let them work at growing old with grace

Last week, Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson sounded a warning to employers: rid your workplace of ageist practices or be answerable to her when older workers complained about being sidelined.

Speaking at a Future of Work forum, she noted that ‘age’, compared with other areas of inclusion, may drop off bosses’ radars completely.

Yet, as the population ages, the issue remains the elephant in the room. Older Australians face discrimination in their jobs as much as a growing disrespect from the diminishing pool of younger workers.

Long before our society reaches a point where seniors are treated like pariahs, workplaces need to be re-educated and governments must force the issue to avoid increasing intergenerational tensions.

Dr Patterson said that in 2015, there were 4.7 people of working age supporting every older person over 65. As that demographic swells proportionately, in 40 years time there will be just 2.7 workers for every person over 65.

The brains behind Money For Jam, Myfan Jordan, told YourLifeChoices that it was imperative for the Federal Government to “show leadership in challenging ageism”.

“We live in a pervasive, ageist world,” she said. “This notion that there is a bunch of cashed-up retirees running around creating the housing affordability crisis is a diversionary tactic.

“Older Australians did not necessarily create the world as it is … the Government should do more to nip these perceptions in the bud.”

With respect for seniors seemingly diminishing, action is needed to switch off the unfounded views that older people have damaged prospects for younger Aussies and that their roles in the workplace are limited.

As Dr Patterson said: “Older workers are a significant part of the future of our workforce and age inclusion is critical for the growth of our businesses and economy. It is a conversation that the corporate world can’t afford not to have.

“It is, therefore, a demographic and economic imperative that older Australians are encouraged and supported to remain in the workforce for longer if they are willing and able to do so.

“This is consistent with the current Government’s policy and governments at all levels must take an active role in progressing this.”

An education campaign is needed now to change attitudes towards older Australians … to change discriminatory practices and views that will lead to growing mental health problems.

Dr Patterson encapsulated this phenomenon with the retelling of the story of Susan Jackson-Wood, a 65-year-old, Adelaide corporate relations manager whose self-esteem was so wrecked by co-workers that she suffered a nervous breakdown.

The Commissioner then rightfully reminded the audience that barring a premature death, they would all end up being old one day.

If younger generations wish to be treated with respect and dignity when they are seniors, they have to begin changing society’s mindset today. Otherwise, they too will live out their twilight years facing the discrimination they mete out today.

Have you been discriminated at work? Have you missed out on a job because you were ‘over qualified’? Should governments run campaigns to re-educate society against ageism? 

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Total Comments: 45
  1. 0

    The fastest growing group of homeless in Australia are women. It’s probably doubled …..there was one now there’s two. By far the majority of homeless are men but nobody cares about them. Never mind the attempt at having fun with numbers.

    • 0

      The article is about giving women the confidence to use their skills to generate an income, grow confidence & ridding the workplace of ageism for both men & women. Its a great article – don’t get hung up on the numbers, homeless is homeless.
      This is a great opportunity for women to learn business skills & support or supplement their earnings with their particular skill sets.
      How did you not get any of the positive stuff out of this?

    • 0

      When I see BS I have to comment even if it’s only a small section of the article. Many men these days are sick of the continuous ” women are victims ” BS. Most of the women I know are very capable, why do they always have to bring gender into it always pretending women are doing it tougher than anybody else. I’m also very sick of ” games with numbers” being used to misrepresent the issue. Usually to get women even more money and more services that men don’t get. After all for women there is never enough money or free services.

    • 0

      Is there really more money & free services for women? can you tell what they comprise of?

    • 0

      Money for jam is what is being discussed.
      Women are given priority on public housing that why most homeless are men.
      Money spent on breast cancer dwarfs money spent on prostate cancer even though prostrate cancer kills more.
      Mental health such as beyond blue tell men to go to a men’s line rather than help men even though men are 70 % is suicides.
      Education there is support for women getting into stem subjects even though men are performing worse than women in universities. Education has a whole list but there is no space.
      Domestic violence money provided by government often ends up in the hands of women’s groups whose aim is more political than addressing the problem. ( feminist groups)
      Family courts are very much slanted against men because of the work done by these groups.
      If you look carefully at many ads for charities they will focus on any impact on women , why because there is no money in helping men. That enough!

    • 0

      Single women are not given priority on public housing Tib. They are treated the same as men. Single women with children, now that’s a different matter.So really it is children that make a difference in that example.

      Your other examples I do mostly agree with you. However, men are their own worst enemies to a great extent. They need to band together and put their case (much like women have done in the past and still do) in order to garner more attention for men’s health, education and family law issues.

    • 0

      KSS I disagree on the priority on public housing for single women, I’ve seen examples. Blaming men for not being politically active is just victim blaming. I think we both know there is no support for men’s rights groups in the community, and most definitely no funding. If any men’s groups do make an attempt to state their case they are immediately screamed down by feminist groups determined to see men’s groups get no support. The red pill is a good film to watch. Part of this problem is the ” women are wonderful” phenomena. If you don’t know what that is do a search , I think it’s very accurate. I think men’s situation will change probably without political activity.
      As the attitude of young men to marriage has changed. Marriage was once respected and a good thing , young men now commonly call it ” buying a house for someone you hate.”

    • 0

      Tib you have Men’s Shed which funded by the Federal Government, Black Dog Institute for depression aimed primarily at men because many men feel it is a sign of weakness to ask for help…. No point going tit for tat here though, that would just be a waste of time wouldn’t it.

    • 0

      No use going tit for tat because it supports what I say. Did I mention that more than 70% of all suicides are men. Around 6 a day. I support men’s shed but it’s not solving the issue. Beyond blue used to be more supportive until Julia Gillard got on the board.

    • 0

      By the way trees I find your comment the reason for male suicde is because men feel it is a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s a prize bit of feminist victim blaming. Studies have proved that most men who suicide have asked for help but that help has been inadequate. But thanks for your lack of compassion or understanding.

    • 0

      Really Tib – victim blaming??? I think not – don’t read things that aren’t there – read things properly, process what is said, then comment don’t make up stories in your mind & twist things, shows lack of understanding

    • 0

      Goodness Tib – so bitter. I think you need to see the actual stats and start seeing for yourself.
      I am sure there are lots of men in a similar predicament – but their are more women with little or no superannuation.
      If you want to quote suicide stats then you need to understand both women and men attempt suicide it is just that men are more successful at it!
      – and as a note – there are men’s sheds, clubs, pubs, Lyons, Rotary etc etc.
      What is there for women where they don’t have to bake cakes and make knitting squares? (Don’t answer – its a rhetorical question)

    • 0

      Thankyou Rosret for your rather bizarre and unrelated comment.

    • 0

      Really trees your comment is there to read for yourself. Your condescending comment is typical , really read things properly, process what is said ….. Let me guess you were a primary school teacher. So I guess we can add being condescending to a lack of compassion and understanding. You must of made it hell for your male students.

  2. 0

    People over 65 still pay taxes. GST plus everything we buy contributes to company profits and therefore company taxes. Stop making out pensioners are a drain on the country. We paid our taxes, paid for our pension. It’s pollies that spent it, and continue to do so. $300,000 a year for a backbench MP, they don’t do enough for a tenth of that.

  3. 0

    From [email protected]: Tib, does it really do anybody, you included, any good to vent your angry feelings dressed up as worthwhile opinions? Give us a more careful reading of the article, add some relevant facts and subtract the anger. That might save your stuff from the ‘glazed eye’ reaction it now deserves.
    More men ARE homeless AND women ARE the fastest growing section of that struggling group; neither fact contradicts nor reduced the importance of the other. Why try to pit the homeless against one another (unless it is somethig altogether different that is driving you)? Compassion is a HUMAN need – and capacity. Why introduce gender into the housing issue in the dismissive way you do?
    BTW, labelling quantifiable facts you don’t like doesn’t make them ‘BS; and feeling strongly about your views doesn’t stop them being BS. The back-pedalling in your second go-around doesn’t ring true.The claimed ‘facts’ keep pouring out bereft of any backing evidence.

  4. 0

    Myfan Jordan – There is no point promoting this while those older women who could benefit would be taxed or lose pension on any income they receive.

    You need to be lobbying Government for tax concessions. If the Government is serious about helping seniors they need to provide incentives.

  5. 0

    I expressed a suggestion yesterday that related to all older people that were able to work but unable to find employment. Why not include men. There are lots of unused skills that could be put to good use, give back employment, earn some extra money and solve a few problems. Don’t let the unions get involved tho.

  6. 0

    I hae read the Comments…woman get priority and agree! But then I disagree as well. There was no Why?
    Woman in general…have families…yes children!
    They are our Future…as a Nation…no?
    As fot the Homeless men?
    No one wants to confront the Real Elephant in the room do they?
    Most who are homeless are Unemployed…..and some are unemployable!
    No one wants to address the why?
    Perhaps our Govt. least of all?
    Mental Health issues are at the core….we all know it….but choose to ignore it by using labels and name calling.
    To me…it is irrelevant whether it is a Male or Female in crisis! Except where children are involved…it is then that the Relevent priorities change! Any Parent can surely see that!
    As for the Aged working longer if they can?
    Our current system Penalises a Pensioner of any description from doing so by removing part of their Pension! The level allowed before being penalised are Absurd!
    Inflation has made those rates rediculous!
    It is time for the Govt to Encourage NOT Penalise!
    Every Pensioner should be allowed to work up 16hrs without penalty of loosing part of their Pension. They will not hoard the extra money….they will spend it….boosting businesses and our economy. The Govt collects 10% gst regardless! That 10% will more than off set any reduction the Govt currently saves!
    Time for Govt to move forward & reward Pensioners willing to work a couple of days on casual hire rather than Penalise them!
    As for Downsizing….All pensioners should be exempt from any Tax when selling their home to downsize! Why?
    Because they will spend the extra received anyway…whether on Family or new Furniture…which will have 10% gst tax on every purchase….and increase sales for Busoness as wel as lift the Economy!
    They will not put it in a tin in the back yard!
    Time for Govt to encourage & Reward rather than Simply Penalise the Aged!

    • 0

      Um men have families too. Hate to state the obvious. But I do agree with the comment that many of these men are unemployable. Mental health issues are very common in the homeless.

  7. 0

    Boy oh Boy. The pessimism and greed (yes, greed) of some of the “contributors” to this subject astounds me.
    Let’s be clear about one thing. This scheme is wonderful as it boosts self esteem and maybe makes a few dollars. More power to Myfan Jordan….great job. Contrary to what “Not Senile Yet” says about pensioners being penalised for very dollar they earn….
    ot true. You get a “work bonus” so you can earn money and still retain full pension and after a certain level you lose PART of your pension but still making it financially better to work and earn an income. BUT!!!! Having some employment, even if no better off financially, still is a positive. You have a purpose each day, you meet new people, you contribute to society, …etc. etc. …so many positives other than monetary rewards. Though I personally, LOVE the extra money at 71 years.
    Look for the positive side….there is too much negative here. Have a wonderful day.

    • 0

      Zicky well said, you read the whole article incontext – congrats on a positive comment they few & far between on this site in general

    • 0

      zicky, wish everybody contributing to these post had the your same attitude, would it not be refreshing to hear some possitive comments the likes of your’s instead of the always moaning and derogatory contributions of most contributors to these columns.

  8. 0

    Some good commentary from Myfan Jordan. A pity the mainstream media runs the ‘it’s their fault’ tone in their stories about intergenerational inequity.
    Older Australians need purpose, not something to do which may be another job they do not want.

  9. 0

    Wow two horrible articles on one day!
    Fact 1 – employers do not even invite older workers in for interview no matter how qualified they are. They want cheaper first year trained staff.
    Fact 2 – according to Aust census most woman are in retail. That means they are in competition with a younger cheaper work force. It also means they have little opportunity for a career path.
    Fact 3 – women raise and want to raise children which impacts on their working life which in turns means only a few will go into business for themselves. Those who do are often very successful.
    Fact 4 – the baby boomer and earlier generation married with the understanding that their husband’s were going to provide the retirement super funds. If they were unfortunate enough to be divorced in their later years they have been left with little time to “catch up” and provide for themselves.
    Fact 5 – society is cruel – age, ill health, lack of mobility etc etc and loneliness is often their only friend. It is lovely when family take on the responsibility and provide for their elderly parents.
    Fact 6 – The government is behaving like the cruel heartless younger family members that are turning their backs on the elderly.

    • 0

      I like your post. A pity we never read the facts in the mainstream media selling the dream and the lying coalition BS they push. Your post is the reality. Could not have said it better myself. Cheers.

  10. 0

    And what about all the voluntary work that is done by retirees. At least we are very much appreciated by those organisations for which we offer our free services…

    • 0

      My wife tried volunteering a couple of years ago and was told ‘we have plenty of people who offer their time but we have no need of it. What we want is donations’. From one of the well known charities.
      Good that you are appreciated. The response my got turned us off.

    • 0

      Yes, Mick, there is a clique with volunteer projects. I found that out too.
      However today a girl came to the door from the Victor Chang foundation. I offered her $10 and she said they didn’t take cash! I wasn’t going to give them my contact or visa details as well as a donation so she missed out. hehe – nothing to do with this article – but they seem to be getting very choosy.

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