‘No Place like Home’—The Human Rights of Women in Aged-Care

  • Greta BirdEmail author
  • Jo Bird


Greta Bird and Jo Bird begin with the proposition that ageing is taboo, Western culture classing the ageing woman as ‘particularly’ taboo. They look at the position of women from a First Peoples (Indigenous Australian) or a CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) background in Melbourne, Australia, noting that mainstream aged-care spaces give rise to abuses located in ethnic and racial origin, especially when language is an issue, and where tasks such as dressing and cleaning oneself are beyond capacity due to ageing. Their research looks at aged-care in specific contexts and elderly women’s invisibility: mainstream, Christian-based; Muslim-based aged-care; Jewish aged-care; aged-care for Australia’s First Peoples. Despite advances, Bird and Bird affirm the need for a Royal Commission into aged-care, recognising that systemic change within aged-care is essential to ensure culturally suitable and gender sensitive care. Aged-care does not, they point out, exist in a vacuum: it is relative to the dominant cultural setting and broader society. With a history of genocidal policies against First Peoples, and a growth in scaremongering about ‘the other’ with divisive language nominating some people as ‘legitimate’ Australians—‘Team Australia’, others as interlopers, those in aged-care are at risk. As women generally live longer and due to economic realities are less well-off so less able to pay for the care they need, Bird and Bird emphasise that the shift to privatisation of the aged-care sector has enormous implications. Reliance on profit impinges upon the rights of the elderly who are open to sexual and physical abuse as well as poor every day care.


Aboriginal People Residential Care Torres Strait Islander Muslim Community Royal Commission 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.School of Law, University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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