Re-thinking the "Feminization of Poverty" in Relation to Aggregate Gender Indices


Chant, Sylvia. 2006. “Re-Thinking the Feminization of Poverty in Relation to Aggregate Gender Indices.” Journal of Human Development 7 (2): 201–20.

Author: Sylvia Chant


The ‘‘feminization of poverty’’ is often referred to without adequate specification or substantiation, and does not necessarily highlight aspects of poverty that are most relevant to women at the grassroots. The United Nations Development Programme's gender indices go some way to reflecting gendered poverty, but there is scope for improvement. In order to work towards aggregate indices that are more sensitive to gender gaps in poverty as identified and experienced by poor women, the main aims of this paper are two-fold. The first is to draw attention to existing conceptual and methodological weaknesses with the ‘‘feminization of poverty’’, and to suggest how the construct could better depict contemporary trends in gendered privation. The second is to propose directions for the kinds of data and indicators that might be incorporated within the Gender-related Development Index or the Gender Empowerment Measure, or used in the creation of a Gendered Poverty Index. 

Keywords: gender, poverty, feminization of poverty, aggregate gender indices, gender-related development index, gender empowerment measure, gendered poverty index

Topics: Class, Development, Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Political Economies

Year: 2006

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