Feminization of Poverty Professor Ishrat ShamimInstitute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability StudiesUniversity of Dhaka Lecture 4
Feminization of PovertyThe term "feminization of poverty" was first used by Diana Pearce in 1976 following her observation of women among women in America. She observed that two thirds of the poor were women over the age of 16 and an increasingly large number were from the economically disadvantaged groups (Strahan, 1993). The discourse on "feminization of poverty" holds that as a result of recession and reduced public spending by governments, women are increasingly represented among the world's poor (Pearce, 1978).
Feminization of PovertyCont……Women and economic development are at the core of the discourse on feminization of poverty.The notion that poverty has only recently been feminized has been challenged on the grounds that traditionally women have always been poorer than men but that they have been ignored for decades Payne, 1991). The high visibility of poor women as a result of changing demographics (single parent families; female-headed households) makes it easier for women to be counted although, the extent of their poverty still remains hidden.
Defining PovertySpicker (1999:157) defines poverty as consisting of "serious deprivation" where people are conceived to be poor when their "material circumstances are deemed to be morally unacceptable". The topic "feminization of poverty" calls for an analysis into the definition of poverty and an understanding of the way it is experienced by women.
Defining PovertyCont…….The experience of poverty shows that it is multi-dimensional and is affected by gender and age as well as cultural, social and economic factors (Spicker, 1999).Firstly, it is important to commence with the knowledge that many factors converge to make poverty a complex, multi-dimensional phenomena (Spicker, 1999). Essentially it is defined as a lack of necessary material items for the physical well-being of people, such as food, shelter, land etc.
Defining PovertyCont…….The lack of material items results in physical deprivation which also reveal important psychological aspects as well. Poor people are acutely aware of their voicelessness, powerlessness and lack of independence. Poverty has the tendency to expose people to humiliation, rudeness, and inhumane treatment by public and private agents of service.
Defining PovertyCont…….The personal experience of poverty permeates all aspects of an individual's life including his/her family and community.