Gender and Poverty

Topics: Poverty, Gender, Poverty in the United States Pages: 28 (9679 words) Published: May 2, 2013
United Nations Development Programme


Nilüfer Cagatay
May 1998


*The responsibility for opinions in these articles, studies and other contributions in this series rests solely with their authors, and publication does not constitute an endorsement by the United Nations Development Programme or the institutions of the United Nations system.

Table Of Contents
Introduction I. II. Women And Poverty: Are Women Poorer? From Women and Poverty to Gender and Poverty A. Engendering Poverty Analysis B. New Conceptualizations of Poverty C. From Consumption/Income Poverty to Human Poverty D. Are Women Poorer?: Revisiting the Question from a Human Poverty Perspective E. Assessing Gender Differences in Poverty: Quantitative versus Qualitative Approaches F. Do Gender Inequalities Increase Overall Poverty? III. What Is To Be Done? What Is Being Done?

A. Gender Mainstreaming at UNDP B. Engendering Anti-Poverty Projects and Programmes

Figures Figure 1: A Pyramid of Poverty Concepts Boxes Box 1: Chile: Targeting Female Headship for Combating Poverty Box 2: Gender and Poverty in Guinea: Human Poverty versus Consumption Poverty and Participatory Approach to Poverty Assessment Box 3: South Asia Poverty Alleviation Program (SAPAP): The Case of India Social Mobilization through Self-Help Groups


“The causes and outcomes of poverty are heavily engendered and yet traditional conceptualizations consistently fail to delineate poverty’s gender dimension, resulting in policies and programmes which fail to improve the lives of poor women and their families.” Lourdes Beneria and Savitri Bisnath (1997) Introduction The relationship between gender and poverty is a complex and controversial topic that is now being debated more than ever before. Although much policymaking has been informed by the idea of feminization of poverty, the precise nature of the nexus between gender and poverty needs to be better understood and operationalized in policymaking. The difficulty originates from the different shapes and forms gender inequalities and poverty take depending on the economic, social and ideological context. Yet another difficulty involves the scarcity of gender disaggregated data for a number of countries. For the last three decades, many women’s advocates have been arguing that women are poorer than men. The most common empirical expression of this idea is the concept of “feminization of poverty.” 1 This idea has become popular both in shaping analyses of poverty and poverty alleviation strategies. Thus, targeting women has become one vehicle for gender-sensitive poverty alleviation. Poor women have become the explicit focus of policymaking, for example, in the areas of microcredit programmes and income generation activities.2 However, the universal validity of the “feminization of poverty” is being empirically challenged. Although the idea that there are gender differences in experiences of poverty is not abandoned, a more nuanced and complex analysis of poverty and gender inequalities is emerging. This, in turn, is giving rise to a more gender-aware approach to poverty elimination strategies. In what is to follow, we discuss first the earlier approach to “women and poverty,” which has focused mostly on female-headed households (FHHs). Next we address the various new conceptualizations of poverty and their relevance for understanding the linkages between gender and poverty. We conclude with a discussion of policy implications and examples of gender-aware anti-poverty programmes.


For example, the idea of “feminization of poverty” informs one of the key policy goals of the Beijing Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW). 2 Such strategies include the examples of credit schemes for women or income generation activities for women that try to overcome gender biases in credit and other markets by...

References: Agarwal, Bina. 1997. “Bargaining” and Gender Relations: Within and Beyond the Household. Feminist Economics. 3 (1). Agarwal, Bina. 1994. A Field of One 's Own. Cambridge University Press, New York. Baulch, Bob. 1996. The New Poverty Agenda: A Disputed Consensus. IDS Bulletin. Beneria, Lourdes and Savitri Bisnath. 1996. Gender and Poverty: An Analysis for Action Gender in Development Monograph Series, 2, New York: UNDP. Buvinic, Mayra and Geeta Rao Gupta. 1997. Female-Headed Households and FemaleMaintained Families: Are They Worth Targeting to Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries? Economic Development and Cultural Change. pp. 259– 281. Cagatay, Nilufer, Diane Elson and Caren Grown (eds.) 1995. World Development special issue on Gender, Adjustment and Macroeconomics, November, 23(11). Cagatay, Nilufer and Sule Ozler. 1995. Feminization of the Labor Force: The Effects of Long-Term Development and Structural Adjustment. World Development, November, 23(11). Chambers. Robert. 1996. Whose Reality Counts? London: IT Publications. Chambers, Robert. 1989. Vulnerability: How the Poor Cope. IDS Bulletin. Chant, Sylvia. 1997. IDS Bulletin. 28 (3). de Haan, Arjan. 1998. “Social Exclusion”: An Alternative Concept for the Study of Deprivation? IDS Bulletin. 29 (1). de Haan, Arjan and Simon Maxwell. 1998. Poverty and Social Exclusion in North and South. IDS Bulletin. 29 (1). Gonzales de la Rocha, Mercedes. 1994. The Urban Family and Poverty in Latin America. Latin American Perspectives 22 (2). Floro, Maria. 1995. Economic Restructuring, Gender and the Allocation of Time. World Development, 23(11), November. ILO (ILLR) and UNDP. 1996. Social Exclusion and Anti-Poverty Strategies. Geneva.
Jackson, Cecile. 1996. Rescuing Gender from the Poverty Trap. World Development , 24(3), pp. 489–504. Jodha, N. 1986. Common Property Resources and the Rural Poor in Dry Regions of India. Economic and Political Weekly. Kabeer, Naila. 1996. Agency, Well-being and Inequality: Reflections on Gender Dimensions of Poverty. IDS Bulletin. 27 (1), pp. 11–21. Lipton, Michael. 1997. Poverty—Are There Holes in the Consensus? World Development 25(7). Maxwell, Simon and Smith, M. 1992. Household Food Security: A Conceptual Review. in (eds.) S. Maxwell and T. R. Frankenberger Household Food Security: Concepts, Indicators, Measurements. New York and Rome: UNICEF and IFAD. Moser, Caroline. 1998. The Asset Vulnerability Framework Reassessing Urban Poverty Reduction Strategies. World Development. 26(1). Moser, Caroline O.M. 1996. Confronting Crisis: A Comparative Study of Household Responses to Poverty and Vulnerability in Four Poor Urban Communities. Washington, D.C. : The World Bank, (Environmentally Sustainable Development Series and Monograph Series No. 8). Moser, Caroline. 1992. Adjustment from Below: Low-Income Women, Time and the Triple Role in Guayaquil, Ecuador. In Woman and Adjustment Policies in the Third World Haleh Afshar and C. Dennis (Eds.). London: MacMillan. Sen, Amartya. 1990.Gender and Cooperative Conflict. In Irene Tinker (ed.) Persistent Inequalities, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Sen, Amartya. 1981. Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Shaffer, Paul. 1996. Poverty and Gender in the Republic of Guinea. Mission Report for the Canadian International Development Agency. UN. 1995. Women in a Changing Global Economy: 1994 Survey on the Role of Women in Development. New York: Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development. UN. 1997. Report of the Expert Workshop on Ways and Means to Enhance Social Protection and Reduce Vulnerabilit , United Nations Headquarters, 10–14 November 1997. E/CN.5/1998/5.
UNDP. 1997. Human Development Report. New York: Oxford University Press. UNDP. 1995. Human Development Report. New York: Oxford University Press. UNDP. 1990. Human Development Report. New York: Oxford University Press. World Bank. 1995. World Development Report, Washington, D.C.: World Bank.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay about gender and poverty
  • Gender Essay
  • Gender and Poverty in Nigeria Research Paper
  • Essay on gender
  • Poverty Essay
  • poverty Essay
  • poverty Essay
  • Poverty Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free