The feminization of poverty refers to women having poverty rates that are disproportionate to those of men. Statistics show that of all persons living in poverty in the world, 70% are women. Essentially, women constitutes a majority of the 1.5 billion people surviving with less than a dollar in a day (Fontenot, Kayla, and Renwick 30). Furthermore, mean wise, women are paid approximately 50% of what men earn. The feminization of poverty originated in the U.S.A in the 1970s when it was noted that females dominated household jobs and they were poorly remunerated hence they were poor.
Pay disparity and gender stereotyping propel the mentioned phenomenon. When girls abandon education only because of her gender, the society loses important icons who could have change the world.When a woman dies during childbirth due to the lack of access to good healthcare; the society losse an important community member (Klasen, Stephan, Lechtenfeld, and Povel 45). In this case, poverty is defined as denying access to inheritance, health and nutrition, education, and participation in making decisions in society. Three dimensions of the feminization of poverty have been noted in women-in-development and gender-and development (WID/GAD) and they include the implementation of neoliberal economic policies, an increase of female-headed households, and consequences of bias and inequalities against girls and women.
. In feminization of poverty, women suffer twice; on account of denial of access to fundamental resources and gender imbalance. They are denied access to resources to change their current condition. Women work more hours than men, but their determinations are not calculated in terms of contribution or monetary gain in developing the society rather they are decided based on gender. In Argentina, Mexico and its neighborhoods, gender inequalities are evident in labor markets, a factor that has increased levels of poverty (Fontenot, et al. 35). According to a research carried out by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) research showed that poor men are better than women and households maintained by women appeared poorer than those which men were in charge (Burman, Erica 126).
The study of feminization is important for extending the democratic rights to women and promoting gender equality in the world. The main causes of feminization are family composition and organization, inequality in the distribution public services, and inequalities in labor markets. The ideology of feminism aims at promoting women rights ((Klasen, et al. 39). It acknowledges biological and psychological differences between men and women but advocates for equality. It aims at strengthening economic involvement and decision making of women on important issues because of the benefits of women involvement in economic development stretch to the whole family and not individuals (Mishra, Sanjay 67). Empowering women is a key factor in eradicating poverty and the objective can be achieved by providing access to educational and economic opportunities.
There is a big relationship between feminization of poverty and racism. For instance, in America, the median wealth of white households is more than twenty times that of African American. Furthermore, African American women are the most unemployed racial group in the U.S. According to research on ethnicity and employment trends in 2013, whites had a higher rate of employment compared to those from minority ethnic group (Burman, Erica 136 ). Information on gender and poverty shows rates of poverty of racial/ethnic minority women is higher than that of both minority men and white women (Chant, Sylvia 57). Poverty rates are higher among women living in remote rural areas than the urban ones because in many countries, traditions are followed mostly in rural areas (Chant, Sylvia 59). This denies those women access to education and better public services common in some African countries.
In conclusion, feminization of poverty is a global problem and should be addressed by all countries. From above discussion, its true to say that giving basic rights to women such as education, employment, inheritance, and funds just as men will automatically change the society since women value family and not themselves.
Burman, Erica. “Developing differences: Gender, childhood and economic development.” Children & Society 9.3 (1995): 121-141.
Chant, Sylvia. “Addressing world poverty through women and girls: a feminised solution.” Sight and Life Magazine30.2 (2016): 58-62.
Fontenot, Kayla R., and T. J. Renwick. “Poverty by Age and Sex: An Examination of the Distribution in Poverty Between 1966 and 2014.” (2016).
Klasen, Stephan, Tobias Lechtenfeld, and Felix Povel. “A feminization of vulnerability? Female headship, poverty, and vulnerability in Thailand and Vietnam.” World Development71 (2015): 36-53.
Mishra, Sanjay. “Feminization of Poverty and Dimension of Women’s Agencies.” Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies 6.2 (2018).