WNA Blog

Thu 19 Aug 2021

Can A Successful Life Be Defined?

In The News
More than three million Australians could soon be millionaires, as per a Credit Suisse report, and Australian adults are among the richest in the world (with an average net wealth of $AUD 315,000).



The Credit Suisse Report mentions that Low interest rates are expected to help households increase their wealth over a five-year period owing to what has been called “an amazing economic expansion.”

Of course, wealth per se is not the exclusive indicator of success. What do women see as key pillars of quality of life and what are the major obstacles to the achievement of these life goals?

Enjoying a Good Work/Life Balance

Enjoying enough free time every day is a key component of a good quality of life, but women still seem to have drawn the short stick in this respect. Women in Australia currently feel more stressed and pressed for time than men (42% compared to 35%, respectively), according to an ABS study. Women are almost five times more likely to feel like they never have enough time to do all they need to and to relax, owing to family demands. They work longer hours and sleep less, enjoying over four hours less of free time than men per week. Currently, Australia has a national gender gap of 13.4%, which is indicative of the need for legal reform and governmental action to equalise working conditions and earnings.

Engaging in Sound Financial Behaviors

Women have less access to financial services in Australia, as found in the report The exclusion of women from financial services and the prospects of a human rights solution under Australian law by Dr Stephen Tully. Financial services cover everything from grants to loans, mortgages, and other forms of credit. Because interest rates are currently low, many women may choose to assess their refinancing options or take out new loans for entrepreneurial or investment purposes. In fact, The Adviser reports that Australia is currently undergoing a refinancing boom, which can be attributed to the impact of the pandemic and the drop in interest rates. Tully argues that “Although the relevant jurisprudence yields important debtor entitlements and the obligations of credit providers, it also suggests several substantive and procedural obstacles hampering the common law development of that right.” Therefore, an explicit resort to a human rights framework may be warranted.

Health and Quality of Life

Good health is key to enjoying a good professional and working life. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, females have a higher life expectancy than men, “experiencing more of their total disease burden due to living with the disease rather than dying early from disease and injury.” Still, there are challenges to be overcome, since approximately 49% of Australian females have one or more chronic conditions, only two in five get enough exercise, and one in three exceeds the single occasion risk alcohol guidelines. Health is evidently a complex goal that can be more effectively achieved through a better work-life balance, increased education and awareness of the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and the provision of specialised treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.

Enjoying a good quality of life involves various facets – including professional, personal, financial, and health matters. Women still face a disparity in areas such as financial wellbeing, a fact that some scholars feel requires legal reform. With respect to health, women live longer than men, but still face many health issues – including a lack of physical activity.

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