Sexism Motherhood and Aging
If you are looking for any kind of assistance in Australia when you are a woman over the age of thirty, then you are not going to have much luck. This is especially true if you are a Mother and are in some kind of crisis situation. Once you reach a certain age, help gets harder to find. I was recently in a situation where I was attempting to locate a charity run counselling service that I could use … long story, I had remembered another time over ten years ago where I had been faced with a similar situation and a charity had provided me with access to counselling services that helped me a lot.
I am now close to being 40 years old and what I discovered was that there are many charities that provide free counselling services but none of them are aimed at Mothers who are over approximately thirty years old. There are specialised Mens Counselling services, young Mothers groups, family counselling services, groups for gamblers, alcoholics … the list goes on. I’m not saying that services are completely unavailable for people in my situation, however the only support service I could find that offered any assistance at all was a local neighbourhood centre that took four months to get back to me. When they did finally get back to me I was offered a choice between family counselling and counselling for my children. Hello am I nothing??
I don’t mean to judge really, I don’t go around expecting things for free but surely I deserve to be treated as well as younger women, men and children. And why are there so many services aimed at “Young Mothers” if I’m to judge that by the reception I received then I would have to guess that it is because younger Mothers are more likely to have younger children in their care. So taking care of Mothers happens for the purpose of ensuring the welfare of children. This may seem like a harsh assumption, but if these Mother support services are really based on supporting women then why do they disappear as we get older?
If we are going to fight sexism then we need to do it on every level. Older Mothers deal with many stressors as children grow and move on .. this alone can be difficult for some people. Women do not lose their worth as they age. I have seen many acquaintances of mine deal with similar problems, they just can’t seem to be heard when they need to be heard.
I think that this is just a small representation of the sexist attitudes that are evident in Australia today.
Many of these services are government run and if I am a citizen of this country then why am I being overlooked? In order to clarify my point here I would like to compare two well known kinds of support groups that are commonly available … “Young Womens Place” and “Dads in Distress” I would like to point out that Dads in distress does not clarify the age of the Dads that are offered assistance … it’s not “Young Dads in Distress” so why is it that groups aimed at female parents are almost always age related?