Interest rates are rising again. Here's how it's affecting women.

The interest rate is rising. Again. In yet another instalment of quite bad news, the Reserve Bank of Australia has announced the 10th consecutive interest rate rise today, bringing up the cash rate by 0.25 to 3.6% (the highest it's been since May 2012).

The rate rise equates to another $77 on monthly repayments for a $500,000 loan, according to RateCity. That would bring the extra interest on the same loan to $983 a month since the first interest rate rise in May last year. 

And there are more rises tipped to come before the rate peaks in May this year. 

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Video via Mamamia.

While the rate rises have far-reaching consequences for all Australians, they disproportionately affect women.

Associate Professor Andrew Grant from the University of Sydney told Mamamia that the increase in the cost of renting that's caused by the skyrocketing mortgage interest is an issue that is affecting older women in particular.

Older single women are far more likely than their male counterparts to be renters; women who have separated by 65 years old are three times more likely to be renting than women who are remain married. 


Only 44 per cent of women who separate from long-term partners and lose their home manage to buy another one within a decade. 

Associate Professor Grant says it comes down to women's lower lifetime earnings and relative lack of superannuation compared to men. 

"People who have taken time out of the workforce and look after children or elderly parents, they're much more likely to be women and they're more likely to be struggling because they haven't built up as much in superannuation," he said. 

Women are also left more vulnerable to the increase in cost-of-living pressures caused by interest rate rises because of their work arrangements. Women are far more likely to be employed in underpaid industries like teaching and nursing but there has also been a surge in the amount of women employed in part-time and casual roles since the beginning of the pandemic, which has widened Australia's gender pay gap.  

Advocates have been calling for the RBA to put a pause on the hikes and are instead calling for the government to step in to subsidise the cost of essentials like rent, energy, and medicine.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus criticised the RBA's decision-making in a statement today, saying that working people "are being punished for a problem they did not cause." As many as one in four are skipping meals and many are not going to the doctor when they need to as a result of this cost-of-living crisis. 

Feature Image: Getty

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