Feminization of Poverty

The ‘Feminization of poverty’ was noted by Diana Pearce in the late 1970s. It was popularized, though, by the United Nations in the 1990s. Women experience poverty at rates that are disproportionately higher than that of men. It is not to be confused with poverty since poverty is a state while the feminization of poverty is a transition wherein women are impoverished.


Prevalence of single mothers– When there are single mothers, they have to source all their income in nurturing their children. They disproportionately bear the costs of upbringing the kids and this impoverishes them.

Government policies– If the government invests in the kids, women can have their share of income for themselves. If not, this could lead to their impoverishment. Women need more health care assistance when compared to men and spend money from their pockets when the government doesn’t provide for them.

Higher male mortality- Male mortality increases the burden of women in taking care of their children. This leads to only one person taking care of the family which eventually pushes the woman into poverty.

Barriers to education- Many girls still dream of going to school. They don’t have a good education and have to settle for menial jobs which don’t provide them with decent salaries.

Wage gaps- Men are paid more than women and this has been a practice for years together. This is another reason for women being poorer than men.

Relativity of the concept: This is a relative concept and it could occur even due to poverty in men being decreased at a higher rate while that of women being decreased at a slower rate since this could widen the gaps as well.

Due to this phenomenon, women are denied access to credit as well as land and other factors needed for production. They are more prone to domestic as well as societal harassment. They don’t give much priority to health and nutrition since they need to use scarce money on their children. Women can’t access resources or services that can help better their condition due to their trapping in the cycle of poverty. Since they are deprived of power, their participation in decision-making both at home and in the community is almost naught. The women are at a threat of displacement since they don’t have secure homes.

The argument of feminists:

Many feminists started arguing that the concept of ‘equality’ must be made to imply something other than the same treatment of men and women. They argue that the existing position of men and women is not the same and that equality in its usual sense can never help nurture the equality that we intend to have.

70% of the people living in poverty are women. There are 1.5 billion women all across the world who live on $1 per day or even less. The World Health Organization (WHO) regards huge levels of poverty to be the world’s most ruthless killer. This issue is important since it can trap the future generations in the vicious circle of poverty if it is allowed to perpetuate.





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