The Feminization of Poverty
There's no denying that poverty disproportionately affects women and children. In fact, according to a UN report, 70% of the world's poor are women. And while there are many factors that contribute to this statistic, one of the most significant is the feminization of poverty.
The feminization of poverty is the phenomenon whereby women are more likely than men to live in poverty. This is due to a number of factors, including the gender pay gap, the prevalence of women in low-paid and insecure work, and the unequal distribution of unpaid care and domestic work.
The impact of the feminization of poverty is far-reaching. Women who live in poverty are more likely to experience poor health, be illiterate, and be victims of violence. They are also more likely to live in poverty as adults and to pass poverty on to their children.
The feminization of poverty is a global problem, but it is particularly acute in developing countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, nearly 60% of the population living in poverty are women. And in South Asia, the figure is even higher, at 70%.
The feminization of poverty is a complex issue, and there is no easy solution. But if we are to address it, we need to start by acknowledging and understanding the ways in which gender inequality contributes to it.
Organizations that address the feminization of poverty:
The World Bank Group's Gender Action Plan
The United Nations Development Programme's Gender Equality Strategy
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
CARE International's Women's Empowerment Programs
Oxfam's Gender Justice Programs
The World Bank Group's Gender Action Plan is the first of its kind in the development world. It is a comprehensive strategy to address gender inequality and the feminization of poverty, with the goal of achieving gender equality by 2030.
The United Nations Development Programme's Gender Equality Strategy focuses on ensuring that women have equal access to education, health care, decent work, and political participation.
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women is the UN agency responsible for gender equality and the empowerment of women. It works to end discrimination against women and girls and to empower them to exercise their rights and participate fully in all aspects of life.
CARE International's Women's Empowerment Programs work to promote gender equality and women's empowerment in some of the world's poorest communities.
Oxfam's Gender Justice Programs work to address the root causes of gender inequality and to ensure that women and girls have the same rights and opportunities as men and boys.
Some examples of their work include:
- Providing women with access to education and training
- Supporting women-owned businesses
- Improving women's access to health care and education
- Working to end violence against women
- Advocate for women's rights in policy and decision-making processes.
Ways you can get involved include:
- Donate to or volunteer with organizations that work to address the feminization of poverty
- Raise awareness about the issue among your friends and family
- Write to or meet with your elected representatives and urge them to take action on the issue
- Support women-owned businesses
- Be a mentor to someone in your community
For more information on the feminization of poverty, check out the following resources and web addresses
UN Women: http://www.unwomen.org/
The World Bank Group: http://www.worldbank.org/
The United Nations Development Programme: http://www.undp.org/
CARE International: http://www.care.org/