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Sexually transmitted debt: the campaign to fight female financial abuse

Bauer’s editors. (image: Bauer Media)

‘Sexually transmitted debt’ has become the next frontier for gender rights, as a major campaign was launched this week to help millions of Australian women escape financial abuse.

Media company Bauer, to coincide with International Women’s Day, will run the ‘Financially Fit Females’ campaign across its 36 brands to educate Australian women to be financially literate and independent.

The company cited Australian Bureau of Statistics figures that 15.7 per cent of women had suffered economic abuse during their life, with the risk peaking between the ages of 40 and 49.

Womans Day editor-in-chief Fiona Connolly said abuse can arise when a woman doesn’t understand her financial situation after leaving such affairs to her partner.

“The situation can become dire for older women whose partners take control of their joint finances, leading to women being forced to live in domestic poverty and suffering from financial abuse,” she said.

“Sexually transmitted debt and inappropriate financial affairs are very real problems for tens of thousands of Australian women.”

Bauer’s campaign will educate its female readers on how to recognise financial abuse; savings and investments; maximising superannuation; being paid appropriately; and navigating separation or divorce.

A Melbourne Institute study last year found 85 per cent of Australian women under 35 years of age did not fully understand “fundamental investment concepts”.

Economic abuse was also more likely, according to Roy Morgan statistics, if a woman was separated or divorced, had lower levels of education, was unemployed or lived in low-income households.

Former Queensland premier and now chief of the Australian Banking Association, Anna Bligh, said increasing financial knowledge for women was imperative to combat abuse.

“Helping women to fully understand and be informed and confident in their financial decisions is important and will go a long way towards addressing the many issues associated with female financial abuse,” she said.

Bauer, which reaches 7.5 million readers through its publications, have titles like Elle, Woman’s Day, Harper’s Bazaar and The Australian Women’s Weekly in its stable.

Company chief Paul Dykzeul said the Financially Fit Females campaign comes on the back of last year’s campaign to have GST removed from female sanitary products.

“A concerted media campaign by a publisher like Bauer around significant women’s issues can have an impact and force real change,” he said.

“We make no apology for fighting hard for the things women value and we look forward to whichever political party forms government after the election joining with us to drive education for women around their financials.”

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